Hennepin County Government CenterToday's your last day for free cookies and punch at the Hennepin County Government Center. That big building that goes over 6th? This is their atrium. I was there this past weekend with the gang from Tips from the Top Floor. Fourteen photographers wandering the skyway looking for interesting things. Turns out most security guards don't want you photographing the interiors of the buildings. This is a government building and it was ok; we stood right by the security desk and he didn't mind. I took most of the color out of this image because the abstract shapes were much more powerful in B&W. It's a great space when it's empty and quiet. A very bright, cheery place actually. This was the first time I was there when I wasn't doing paperwork that I didn't want to. It's a very different experience. Go take pictures or just hang out at the DMV, you might like it.
Dark OaksOn the news this morning, I heard that last night the low temperature was 35°F, the first time above freezing since November 16th. Spring is coming and soon these bare trees will have some leaves and the rolling hills of the tundra will be alive with the color of green. Thanks for all the great comments on yesterday's post about cairns. I continue to be amazed at how quickly information can be found on the web. So many trips to the library avoided, so many projects not held up. I'm now starting to take a serious look at my extensive book collection and ask it why I have to share my space with it. Sure, I'll always keep the fine-printed art books, but so many reference books haven't been opened in years. Soon I'll be posting pictures I took downtown with the Tips from the Top Floor Group. My freind Bob Kupbens took a shot of me while we were there that I like. With the warming weather, the ice on the lakes is melting and soon we'll have open water again. Just follow the ducks.
Cairn - Stacked Stones or Rock PileOff in a corner of Afton, on the far side of the snowshoe trail, on a ridge in the woods lies a cairn collection. Someone started stacking rock and either couldn't stop themselves or started a movement. There are at least a dozen little cairns on the stumps. I did a little research today on the word cairn. I knew the word, but couldn't spell it (it's pronounced like Karen). I tried every variation that I could think of and discovered that there are a lot of rocker chicks who like to misspell Karen (search: Karyn or Caren rock). That's why I used a descriptive title on the post today in hopes that I can help someone else. Once the true spelling revealed itself, I was delighted to read about them on wikipedia. Now I want to build more of them when I'm out hiking. They have lots of purposes, but one of them is to denote a path. Often a pointed rock is included in the stack that indicates the direction of travel. This kind of cairn is called a duck or duckie (I know!) because the pointed rock indicating the route looks like a beak. How often does someone who uses a duckie as a trademark find something like this! The Wiki article also includes a neat term: two rocks do not make a duck. Meaning that a lost hiker might think they see a duckie, but it could just be one rock sitting on another rock. I like that. It reminds me of researching on the web — you want to find more than one or two sources. How many rocks does it take? When you five rocks of different origin neatly stacked, you can be pretty sure you have a duck. So stay the course, enjoy the journey and mind the ducks. Since this original post, I've managed to discover other Cairns and Land Art forms around Minneapolis.