My parents had a summer cabin on the shore of Mooselookmeguntic Lake, Rangeley, Maine that was built in 1959. We spent as much time there as we could every summer. I remember being thrilled when I found a special piece by the edge of the lake. They were like wooden clouds that had bounced and drifted for years between the waves, rocks, gravel and sand along the shoreline. It was a time when the lake was mostly unpopulated. They may have been very old to have reached their state of being when I discovered them. Every year into adulthood I always spent some time searching for that special masterpiece of the lake and sweep it up in my hands and arms to preserve it. To me, they are ancient treasure that needs to be preserved.
I have built metal stands to support some of them, and consider having a few cast in bronze to ensure their life in perpetuity. However, that would disturb their wooden composition so I am ambivalent about doing that. They seem like living beings to me. The “Pet Seal” has been a companion of sorts, since I was about 10 years old. It’s like an ancient’s found keepsake that would have been traded for something very special, or would have some sort of magical significance of soothing power. A Buddah from the Lake? Like a piece of music, or a memorized poem it has become a part of me.
They all represent the life force of trees, roots, wind and water, which have carved them gracefully in random ways into unique poetic forms that speak more to me than many human-made pieces of art. I am happy to have rescued them from rotting and have hopefully given a permanent life to these historic relics. It is my hope that they are well taken care of for a very long time.
Paul Cahan December 2014
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