I just returned from a week backpacking in the Arizona wilderness. I was on a residency with Signal Fire, a fantastic organization that takes artists into the wild to think about the relationships between art and nature and landscape.
Each day, one participant led a “deep play” exercise for the group. When it was my turn, I invited everyone to collaborate to create a cairn village in the riverbed. The whole process was meditative and mindful. We worked in silence, and then surveyed our work.
In the spirit of “leave no trace”, I tore it down once I got the photos. I was torn, because despite the ideal of leaving no trace I’m drawn to the comfort that cairns bring. A cairn represents other human interaction, coming upon one indicates that I’m not lost. Even though I might be the only person for miles, there is a kind of conversation that happens through cairns between strangers and over time. There’s something really special about that relationship.
Stay tuned for more images to come.
Mazatzal Wilderness, Tonto National Forest, Arizona, USA