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It Makes You Wonder
A couple creating some art from nature at Ragle Park
Anne and Stefan were sitting at a picnic table among redwoods in Ragle Park, off to the side of the walking path. In between them on the table was something made of small redwood branches, lichen, oak galls, rocks and other things. The couple was enjoying the sun, getting some time outside between the passing storms.
“What do you have there?” I asked, walking by them.
“It’s a nature sculpture,” said Stefan, wearing a fedora with a big feather in it. Anne in a bright blue parka explained how they gather things on their walks through Ragle Park and then they sit down and assemble them. They also leave the sculpture behind for others to see and wonder. Sometimes it goes missing or it gets damaged, but then they rebuild it when they return. I took a few photos and Anne shyly asked not to be photographed.
Anne loved our dog and told us that she missed having a dog. She used to have Aussies when she lived in Colorado. She liked the cold weather.
Stefan showed me pictures on his phone of previous installations, going back a few months. Sometimes there were three sets of branches on a picnic table.
He also asked me if I knew anything about chickadees. I said that I thought they had a kind of black hood. “No,” he said. “The ones around here are chestnut-backed chickadees and they have brown on their shoulders.” He showed me two videos of chickadees flying to his hand, perching on a finger and snatching a walnut from his palm. “I think they have facial recognition,” said Stefan. “They seem to know it’s me.” He described a scene where a chickadee fluttered in front of his face, looking at him and expecting a walnut.
Stefan and Anne secure the nature sculpture into the spaces between the slats in the picnic bench or in knots. There are little surprises in the sculpture if you look closely enough — a label from a box of Camel’s and a red gummy hidden among pine needles. Anne and Stefan were themselves wonderful surprises on a Saturday walk through Ragle Park.