Saturday, January 24, 2009

More art of grief

kw: images, memorials

I was taking a shortcut through northernmost Delaware when I happened on a couple of roadside memorials. I've commented on these before, here. These two are some of the newer ones I've encountered.

Though these memorials are motivated by tragic circumstances, I look on them as examples of folk art by people who do not think of themselves as artists. On this one, the name Cliff can just barely be made out, though the memorial is only two years old. This has the look of being primarily the work of Cliff's children. The setting is intimate, a small, boulder-strewn valley at a tight bend in the road. Fortunately, there is a straight run on both approaches to the bend, and little traffic, so I could get close to the memorial without risking becoming the next victim.

This memorial is on a straight stretch of road. I surmise that the late Pieter fell asleep. Looking away from the road, however, the scene is rather desolate. This meadow is part of a wildlife refuge. I understand that developers want to turn the lands east of the refuge into some kind of mixed mall-plus-residential venture. Most of the non-refuge land is a cornfield. To me, that is already its best use.

I'll forbear to rant, just noting that, if I were king, I'd make it a capital offense to develop land that can grow food. We may not need that much food today, but in the future, we most certainly will.

Back to memorials. Most are as simple as this cross, though few are as well carved. A quick search on Google images for "roadside memorials" yields quite a variety. There are hundreds, perhaps a thousand, recorded among the 5,000+ hits that the search returns.

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