Tuesday, December 14, 2010

LAURIE ZUCKERMAN'S "ROCK OF AGES" PHOTO SERIES FROM SOUTHERN COLORADO'S HISTORIC CATHOLIC CEMETERIES — "CAMPOSANTOS"

Day 1: Carved fieldstone in Southern Colorado 2007

Day 2: Carved fieldstone in Southern Colorado 2007

Day 3: Carved fieldstone in Southern Colorado 2007

Day 4: Carved fieldstone in Southern Colorado 2007

Day 5: Carved fieldstone Southern Colorado 2010

Day 6: Carved fieldstone Southern Colorado 2010

Day 7: Carved fieldstone Southern Colorado 2010

Day 8: Carved fieldstone Southern Colorado 2010

Day 9: Carved fieldstone Southern Colorado 2010

Day 10: Carved fieldstone Southern Colorado 2010

Day 11: Carved fieldstone Southern Colorado 2007

Day 12: Carved fieldstone Southern Colorado 2010

Carved rock by Tom Mathies at the Keota Cemetery

Carved rock by Tom Mathies at the Pawnee Buttes

Carved rock by Tom Mathies at the Pawnee Buttes

Christmas Day!! Laurie Zuckerman spends her vacations cruising Hispanic cemeteries "camposantos" in the Southwest for folk art gravestones. Probably the oldest and most primitive of the markers I find are small fieldstones that unobtrusively mark forgotten plots of loved ones. The stones are irregular and encrusted with lichens, obscuring the handcarved Spanish-style crosses engraved in their faces. In honor of the twelve days of Christmas, I will display a new photo each day from cemeteries tucked away in the remote San Luis Valley of Colorado. Once governed by Spain and Mexico for centuries, the religious culture of Spain and Mexico still survives, due to that remoteness. Later on Christmas Day I will post photos of our own "rock of ages" stones my husband has carved for my birthday and Christmas presents this month. We are taking them out to the country today for their debut shoot out at the old Keota Cemetery, in the heart of dustbowl land and then on to the Pawnee Buttes National Grasslands. The last three shots are from today's Christmas journey.

"My refuge my rock of salvation! 
'Tis pleasant to sing to your praises.
Let our house of prayer be restored. 
And there we will offer You our thanks.
When You will have utterly silenced the loud-mouthed foe.
Then we will celebrate with song and psalm the altar's dedication.

My soul was sated with misery, 
My strength was spent with grief.
They embittered my life with hardship..."

Excerpt from the Channukah "Rock of Ages" song.


Carved "moss rock" by Tom Mathies, photographed 
at Keota Cemetery, Weld County, Colorado, 2010

3 comments:

J said...

Day 6 is my favorite so far. I like the "presence" of the missing piece, the abandoned, the lost, the absent.

J said...

Now Day 11 appears and becomes my second-most favorite.

I am drawn to the carvings that no one would call nicely done or beautiful but bear the marks of both pain and love -- and longing.

Imagine the unknown people who lovingly immortalized their mortal loved ones.

Somehow, I think they succeeded. Don't you?

Laurie Beth Zuckerman said...

Yes. All that is left of these lives are these simple but arresting stones. Mostly unidentified, save the occasional initials. An entire life reduced to an enduring stone marker in a forgotten field.