Friday, February 6, 2009

September 16: Bob Crain

Bob Crain builds glass houses.

I suppose one day he was taking out the trash and noticed all the bottles. He realized he had a problem and decided to make something of himself. Or just the bottles.

Somewhere in southern Manitoba he started stacking them up. I don't know what he used for mortar, but he built a house with his addiction. When that was done he built a church out of bottles, and I guess that fixed him because he stopped there, with his house and church whistling in the wind.

I don't know how they are positioned, or how the sun glares off the surface at dawn or dusk. I don't know how tall, or wide, or deep those buildings stand. I don't know if they are close to each other, or far.

I did know they were ten miles from the Assiniboine and my bike had a gimpy tire.

The tire could have been fixed, or at least managed. The distance was not great but harder to negotiate. I did not want to see Bob Crain's glass bottle houses, so intriguing on my map and I did not see them.

I negotiated with myself. It's okay not to see everything. If you try to, you won't anyway. I could build something myself. A tribute to Bob Crain and his construction out of destruction.

Once while at a retreat stationed around a muddy lake, I went down to the lake and saw all the twisted rebar and concrete slabs there, and decided to build. I started with sundials and ended with cities five foot tall. I was the master of time and space, and pants of mud covered my legs.

It was joyous to build, knowing that these buildings would not last. In those days I hated photography and every attempt to preserve the passing world as if anything were permanent.

I could do it again, I thought, bargaining on the river. I won't go to Bob but I'll bring his spirit here.

The bargain made I passed under the bridge to Bob's house.

And, you know, I did not build my cities after all.

Day 87 ended: 49*45.265N, 098*29.262W

1 comment:

John said...

This is perhaps the best reason to do anything out-of-the-ordinary: it builds thousands of speculative worlds, an occasionally one or two real ones.