Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I Love This Guy

Just when you thought that the whole world has gone stupid, along comes a decent fellow to restore your faith.

QUAKERTOWN, Pa. - As the fourth anniversary of the World Trade Center attack approaches and concrete plans for ground zero seem to come and go like tourist buses, it can often seem as if the void there will never be filled.

But over the last several months, far from the political battles, an artist and a team of assistants have been working in a hangarlike studio here, creating an unusual, sprawling sculpture that will be installed and dedicated near ground zero on Sept. 11, becoming the first substantial permanent memorial in the area.

The bronze sculpture will be an eerily lifelike re-creation of the stump and roots of a sycamore tree that grew for more than 70 years in the churchyard of St. Paul's Chapel. The tree became a potent symbol of sacrifice after 9/11, when it was broken by the blast from the collapsing towers and helped to shield the church from damage. The work will sit at the head of Wall Street on Broadway, in a courtyard of Trinity Church, the Episcopal parish that operates St. Paul's. It will soar 18 feet into the air and spread more than 25 feet across the courtyard, and the tens of thousands of people who visit the ground zero area every week will be able to walk through its undulating root branches.

"This sculpture is not intended as a memorial, just as an artwork," said Steve Tobin, the artist, who came up with the idea for the project in the weeks after the attack, when he read about the sycamore. "But I think this work is going to embody 9/11 for a lot of people."

Yeah...man. I do remember.


Jehane said...

What an amazing story. I realize this is a sappy comment (pun partially intended) but I have always been a tree lover. Since I was just a tiny girl I've loved the woods. I love to climb trees, sit under them, I love the way they smell just after it rains, the sound they make when the wind blows through their branches. When we were out in Cali we went up to Big Basin every summer to spend some time in the redwoods.

This is really dumb, but we live on a wooded lot on a lake. But I have 5 saplings on my porch from the Arboretum (like we need more trees) that I have to plant - all MD species that are dying out due to forestation. And even though it's a pain digging holes in our rocky soil, I can't wait to plant them.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

- John Muir

spd rdr said...

Nothing sappy about that Cass.
Thanks for sharing.

portia said...

Wonderful story, spd. For those of us who work downtown, the sight of St. Paul's chapel--the little church that could--standing defiant and proud amidst the destruction all around it offered a powerful message of hope and resilency

From our office windows in downtown Manhattan, we look out on the huge bronze Sphere sculpture--now a Memorial-- that once stood in the center of the World Trade Center plaza, and which except for some twisted metal and visible dings, miraculously suffered little damage on that horrific Tuesday. Shortly after 9/11, the City relocated the Sphere to its memorial site in Battery Park, and an eternal flame was added "in honor of all those who were lost." Regrettably, the Sphere tribute is often overlooked by tourists who venture to Ground Zero but for me it stands tall as a powerful, emotionally charged symbol and as the plaque states "endures as an icon of hope and the indestructible spirit of this country."

Like the sycamore tree, sometimes it's the simple things that tell a story best.

portia said...

Here's a photo of the Sphere.

spd rdr said...

Thanks, Portia. The Sphere is a strong reminder that 9/11 was an attack, not just on the U.S., but on the whole world. Perhaps if you'll send me more pictures I'll put up a side bar so that vistors to Heigh-ho can understand what you see everyday and why you can never forget.