Back in early spring of 2012 I took this photo of a pile of stones that seemed to always be calling out to me from the 401 highway (renamed the Highway of Heros) as I drove east out of Toronto.
Last Friday, March 23rd I started building an arch there. I built it partly as a kind of celebration of life, but as I built it became an act of solidarity with those who marched and stood for an end to gun violence, protesting the lack of proper gun control in America, last weekend in Washington DC.
I've decided to call it the 'Arch for Their Lives'
There is an inevitability about stone. Structures of stone, gathered from the land and later, painstakingly laid by hand, one on top of another, can, if you let them, take on a kind of impending nobility that seems to allude to something more than just the pragmatic.
Whether it be building with stone for a certain specific purpose, or in this case trying to create something merely whimsical, my efforts to connect with that 'predestined meaningfulness' inherit in natural stone, though a very rewarding activity, is an achievement that often is very allusive.
I think of it as a kind of 'pre-realization' that stones convey. There is an unconscious knowing, in each of us, of what it was (is?) a long time ago, already needed to be done. If it's done right, even if we had nothing to do with creating it, we still recognize its sense of 'eventuality'.
If were lucky and we're open to it, and we are the ones silently building with the stone, a narrative can be inferred that is more timeless than we originally imagined. It's as if the stones become something that they've always wanted to be and are saying something they've always wanted to say.
The very stones cry out.
By its very lonely silent presence, this arch newly emerging from the landscape has somehow been released to become what I, having worked on for days, only now am beginning to understand it needed to be.
The arch is for life. It stands for life.
Silently and powerfully as Emma Gonzales stood too for life, during those poignant minutes at the end of her speech , (symbolically waiting out the same length of time that the gunman spent at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School senselessly ending lives)
May these stones silently speak too. And may the inevitability of the stone arch stand for what inevitably needs to change in the beliefs and actions of those in America who resist laying down (or even just controlling better) their beloved weapons for the lives of others.