In 2003 I visited Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The temples and stone sculptures possessed a staggering beauty and scale, but it was the small arrangements of stone rubble at every site that really struck me. I speculated. Perhaps these still-life-like groupings and stone stacks were the work of bored tourists, of wandering minds and wandering hands? A few years later, I encountered something similar in New Mexico: arrangements of pottery shards on the dry earth of Pueblo archeological sites.
Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect.
This expression, associated with the Japanese aesthetic Wabi Sabi, has a far reach. I believe it encompasses these ever-so-casual tableaus placed by anonymous hands. The arrangements, easily abandoned, are gestures of impermanence. The stones, shards, and rubble are ever-ready to become something else for someone else, without incident.
Snow covers the ground. Lake Michigan is cluttered with ice. The sun–soaked sand and stones persist. They are here in Clutch. Take a moment and unspool time. Play without purpose.