Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Something new I learned this week

I have this habit....not sure whether its healthy or not....of collecting stones from beaches I've visited. Or fir cones from forests and leaf skeletons from parks. These little memorabilia are gradually filling up 'my' (as opposed to the rest of the household's) drawer in the hallway and beginning to spill out onto the top of fireplaces and ledges and my studio.

My favourites are beach stones. I have collected several big heavy intricately embedded with quartz stones from South Wales which serve as great doorstops. And some smaller ones. Much smaller as I had to carry them back in my already overloaded suitcase from France. These are from Cannes. For some reason I feel compelled to keep piling them up like little shrines. It set me thinking.

The other day I decided to use a well known search engine to find out what piles of stones can mean.

I came across this....(by Robert Glenn)

An obos is a Japanese term for a pile of rocks, one on top of another. The obos merely says, "I was here." Being an unusual configuration, it is obviously from the hand of man. Further, if it is knocked down or desecrated, it is easily rebuilt. There can be one at the bottom of the garden or in a private corner of a public park.

Obos is a destination, a sanctuary, a shrine and a focal point that reminds us that we work with our hands. We are builders and what we build is sacred. Obos may appear inconsequential and be unnoticed by casual passersby. It's a private tribute to something higher, something we might be striving for but find difficult to attain. Approach obos with a relaxed, curious mind. It can help with answers to questions not consciously asked. Obos gives pause, a contemplative thought or a new direction, a respite from clutter, a rededication to our struggle and an affirmation of the value of our personal effort. Obos is the carrier of a golden secret. Obos is like art itself. Obos is a joy to build.

I want to get out there and build more obos!!!


Spiderman said...

Obos eh? whilst I was in Australia many years ago I learnt that the Aboriginies also collect stones to help them contemplate. Instead of piling up a number of stones in the little obelisks you described, they choose a special small individual stone and use the sweat from behind their ears or along the sides of their nose to polish the stone to an amazing shine. I put my little stone, collected from a mountain in Scotland, into my car and instead of getting stressed out in traffic jams I would while away this otherwise wasted time polishing my own "thought" stone. All very worthwile and rewarding as you watch the shine slowly build on the porus stone. I only wish I could share it with you through your blog yet photos just cannot be added. Shame. Good luck with your own obos building, take care and take your time and I am sure you will be rewarded.

Elaine said...

I've got a beach stone somewhere I found when I was about 10, it is grey and has two white line circles and another line making a face - I must find it I'm sure my boys will love it - it can go in their heuristic treasure basket!

Have fun with your pebble towers - maybe you could paint some?

natural attrill said...

We found a wonderful little beach on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly, it was covered in piles of stones which people add to year after year, some little piles, others huge, some balanced on top of cliff edge, others nestled in the sand.
Our house is full of stones and shells and things we have found.
Wishing you a Happy New Year!