On a road called the Loneliest Road in America stood a 80-year-old cottonwood tree covered in shoes. Located outside Middlegate, Nevada this landmark was a man made monument cut down by vandal's with a chainsaw. Just this week, a testament to man's need to give and to create is all but erased from the silhouette of the landscape.
The response to this local tragedy has become so wide spread that it made me stop and think, why this, why such a profound lost, from hundreds on Facebook, to the Governor, from the locals, to the tourist, and even the L.A. times. Full grown men were crying in public, at the location of this fallen tree, for all to see.
Could this overwhelming response be because this tree was for the people, by the people. No corporation sponsored the making of this shoe tree, the tree had never been advertised on television, or sold to us in a glossy magazine.
Could this be a civil affair, this shoe tree, and all others forms like it, are man made.
These creators are the designers, the decorators of a shared experience. No one has told them how and what to do. No one told these people they were making art.
Personally, I have had it with high art, high design, sales generated taste, they have it, it must be good, way of thinking. Enough! Please no more flat surfaces telling me what to buy and where to go. I want to pitch shoes in a tree and know more will come. Sharing the same expression, sharing the same physical gesture of tossing a pair of shoes. Maybe this form of sharing and the loss of, explains the grief, Middlegate, Nevada is feeling.
In the southern states it's not uncommon to see trees covered in bottles. I've been told placing bottles on trees and bushes originated in Africa and Haiti from the people forced in to slavery and brought to America. They say the bottles capture evil spirits before they enter the house, keeping the occupants safe and
away from harm.
Being from the South myself, I can testify that people take their bottle tree's very seriously. From simple to highly decorative, they all say the same thing, I made this, I created this, simple me, now keep me safe. There is something very ceremonious about the more complicated creations, temple like, sort of a religion in the making.
Many of these bottle creations are a collective of sorts. Neighbours many times drop off pits and pieces of things, it's not uncommon for passer's by to throw things out the window of a car. Knowing good and well where it's going to end up.