Rocks in the woods
Let's begin at the end: in November, we exhibited at Gustavsbergs konsthall, and yesterday we took the exhibition down.
Before that I had been walking in the forest. From a beautiful, fallen oak I asked to borrow one of its branches, all patterned by fungi. And the ropes were made from plants all around; one from plants near my allotement in Kista, two from plants in the wetlands closer to my home. I don't know their names, but they are a kind that were still bright green in November. I sat on a log and twisted the fibres. I accidentally frightened a heron.
Lastly, the rock. I needed to find a rock to hang at the art gallery. I went out again, needed to go out several times in order to find one that wanted to come, but finally I toiled back this beautiful, grey one to my home, then to the bus stop, then on the bus and the metres to the gallery from the bus stop at Gustavsberg. And look, what a beauty it is.
Yesterday we took down the exhibition. I was happy to see the rock still there, hanging in the ropes. They held, even though tired and streched, but still co-operating. They fell apart somewhat as I untangled them from each other, lifted out the rock from its nest and packed it in my backpack. The job was done.
The reason as to why choosing the rock was the hardest part for this installaton, is because there were two. Two rocks that wanted to come along. I found the grey one first at night, slightly sunken into the ground, and in the darkness I couldn't make out its colour. It felt right, but I also felt a hesitation. Not quite. So I picked it up and carried it through the forest, knowing I wouldn't find it later if I left it; I had no landmarks in the dark. I kept on looking, and after a while I found another one, another rock that wanted to come along. This one also felt right, and also not quite. The surface was more rugged, a bit sharp even. I couldn't decide, so I put them next to each other and promised to return the next day and make up my mind.
The next day it didn't become any easier; I could see that the first rock was beautifully grey, with a layer of another rock like a line through its body. The sharper rock was charmingly red, rusty almost, and with an indentation that would be interesting in the ropes. Both would look well with the ropes and the stock, both had the right shape, the right weight, the right ...personality. They both wanted to.
And so I gave a promise. I promised to come back, to not abandon the one not chosen. And I took the grey one along.
Today I went out walking again, the grey rock in my backpack and the tired ropes in a paper bag. Went off the trail, climped up over the hills, said hello to the oak who lent me its arm on my way and in under the belly of Hammarbybacken, our local skiing and hiking hill. There it was, the rusty rock, still waiting.
The ropes rustled and fell apart, my legs lost all sensation when I held the rocks in my lap. The fingers lost sensation from the cold too, when tying the ropes, and I ruined the fine layer of snow underneath. The ropes almost weren't long enough; a miracle they even held, but they did. A low growing tree branch received the weight of the rocks; it's always a bit better with living wood.
When I let go the ropes held, the grey one found peace at once, maybe a bit more used by now. The red one dangled a little in the breeze, slowly. Like a small heart beat.
Maybe they'll see the shy rays of spring sun. Maybe the rope will give before then, even though the worn fibre finds strenght in numbers. I don't think it matters to the rocks, really – I think they just wanted to be together. Now they can, and I surely will come to visit.