Google+

Raising Ebenezer

Raising Ebenezer

 

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;

hither by thy help I’m come;

and I hope, by thy good pleasure,

safely to arrive at home.

 

Beginning sometime in late 2011, people began going to a portion of the beach in Galveston, Texas and building things.  They began building cairns, stacks of stones.  It is wonderful public art and an expression of creativity.  I mean if God gives you rocks you make cairns right?

 

Cairns themselves have a long history.  Stacks of stones to commemorate special events,  special places, to mark the burial ground of someone important, or to mark the way on the path date back to early man.  Cairn is a Celtic word but the object itself cuts across cultures and time.  People have been building memories and marking extraordinary places for a long time.

 

“Here I raise mine Ebenezer,” comes from an evangelical hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”  The idea that the author expresses in the words comes from an Old Testament passage, I Samuel 7:12.  “Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it “Ebenezer” (Rock of Help), saying, “This marks the place where God helped us.”  (From the translation, “The Message”)  Samuel built a cairn to remember God’s help.  When I was walking through the area looking at the cairns and photographing them, that song came to mind.

 

We all need places to remember, places to mark the way in our lives.  We even say I have reached “a milestone.”  People used to put down stacks of rocks to mark how far a mile was.  A hiker and backpacker shared with me that they are still used on many wilderness trails today in exactly the same way.  We remember the marks along the way and arrive safely home.  Besides that, God knows we all need a little help sometime.  Perhaps the simple act of stacking stones becomes a simple way of saying grace.

 

The Galveston Beach Cairns tell stories about people.  They are stories where we have to fill in the blanks sometimes, but the stories told in stacked stones are wonderful.  People went down to a rocky part of the beach and took time to stack rocks in just a certain way as a work of popular art.  While we usually make things from rock so that they last, sometimes things just tumble in.

 

Isn’t that the way life is though?  We think we build or are building something and suddenly it just crashes down.  At times I think these cairns fell over because of the elements, the wind and surf.  Sometimes I think just the very weight of the rocks balanced one on the other caused things to just fall.  Sometimes I am sure, people built beautiful creations only to see them fall like sand castles before their eyes.

 

If life gives us rocks, why not build a cairn?  Why not build something that says to everyone I am here and this is me, at least the me of this moment.  But like the wind, surf and gravity, our lives sometimes are just tumbled down or get tumbled down.  What we think is solid falls apart.  What we feel is a beautiful creation seems to just slide apart.  We just cannot make it work.

I have learned some things out of life though.  What gets tumbled down can be rebuilt.  The things we want to be solid that fade, can be picked up, rebuilt, and made new.  It is hard work doing that.  Some things that were in the first thing won’t be in the last.  Some rocks just get set aside, but what happens finally is a new creation.

 

Cairns are ways of remembering and have been for years.  Cultures all over the world stack up rocks and stones and say: come here, see this, and remember this person or that event.  I love Teotihuacan in Mexico, just outside of Mexico City.  It was a city at one time of over 100,000 people when the largest city in Europe perhaps had 10,000.  That is where you find the famous Pyramids of the Sun and Moon.  What did the last indigenous person think as he was walking away from that abandoned city?  Did he wonder if it would ever get rebuilt?  Did he wonder if the gods had truly abandoned him and his people?  Did he wonder if those stacks of stones would ever live again?

 

Like what happens in life, some of the Galveston cairns have fallen over.  I wonder if the beauty is in what was, in what is right now or what those same stones could be in the hands of someone else.  I found one place where stones were laid out, not stacked; just more like someone was doing a puzzle and had laid out all the pieces.  Did the person want to say: “Hey sometimes the beauty is in the getting ready?”  Did they want to say “Hey this is my life it just isn’t made yet?”  Or did they want to say “Hey, make of this what you will.”

 

Tumbled down things and lives are not just junk.  They can be the pieces of the puzzle in the next work of art.  You just have to be willing to build it up again.  Arriving safely at home sometimes does mean we need a bit of help to get there.

 

To see more of my fine art photography, please visit http://mcaleerphotoart.com

 

Write me about any of my posts at therebedragons@austin.rr.com

 

© August 2012 Michael McAleer and Third Gringo Productions

 

Entertainment

Blake Lively Shines as Surfer Stranded in Shark-Infested Waters

  The Shallows Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams Blake Lively Shines as Surfer Stranded in Shark-Infested Waters Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) was so shaken by her mother's (Janelle Bailey) untimely death that she's dropped out of med school. In order to feel closer to her dearly departed mom, she's decided to vacation at the same exotic Mexican retreat where she was reportedly conceived back in 1991. An avid surfer, she also plans to search … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

Keep Walking in Prayer… Until You Can\’t Come Back

  Keep Walking in Prayer... Until You Can't Come Back by Reverend Dorothy Scott Boulware Xulon Press Paperback, $10.99 104 pages ISBN: 978-1-4984-7454-2 Book Review by Kam Williams “By way of introduction, I'm a Baptist Methodist Pentecostal Evangelical non-denominational retired pastor, retired newspaper editor, former minister of music, former fingerprint technician, wife of 47 years, mother of four, grandmother of five, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

More Than a Score

  ACRONYM TO FOLLOW by Peter Brav   Finally Our Day has come There’s a Day for everything For doughnuts, siblings, eight track tapes Grilled cheese, daughters and sons to work Encouragement, Alzheimer’s Coffee, math, chewing gum Blasphemy, yo-yos And now finally One for us Truly a Day to celebrate National Don’t Shoot An Unarmed Brother Doctor King Not Seeing Progress George Orwell Laughing It Is So About the … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

New Home Sales Jump in April

  New Home Sales Jump in April By Burt Carey Sales of new homes hit their highest rate since 2008 in April, according to the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau. April sales increased 16.6 percent over March figures, which correlates to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000 home sales projected for the year. The median price of those new homes was $321,000, the highest median price ever recorded. That’s up 9.7 percent … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Jahking and I!

  Jahking Guillory The “Kicks” Interview with Kam Williams Jahking and I! An undeniable young talent on the rise, actor and rapper Jahking Guillory is already a veteran in the entertainment business at the age of 14. Born and raised in Long Beach California, ‘King’ started pursuing his dream at 9 years-old, landing jobs in national commercials, music videos and national print campaigns. Graduating to larger roles in film and TV, 'King … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

230 LXF from Tidewater Packs A Punch in a Small Package

  230 LXF from Tidewater Packs A Punch in a Small Package By Ted Lund Are you looking for a family-friendly center console that’s got the luxury of a larger boat in a smaller package? Then look no further than the 230 LXF from Tidewater. The 23-foot, center console has the same features as the rest its large LXF brothers, including comfortable full upholstery, stainless steel cup holders. And a newly-designed console with glove box and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

The Season Begins

  The Season Begins by Amy Lignor   Yes, it’s finally time to get down to some real business when it comes to the world of sports. (No offense to Serena at the U.S. Open, but her constant winning is not exactly new.) All this rain across the country has assured that lawns will be overgrown come Monday morning, unless citizens decide to use Saturday to mow. Why is that? Because football is back and Sundays are no longer “nothing to … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Scholastic Announces Sales of More Than 3.3 Million Copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

  Scholastic Announces Sales of More Than 3.3 Million Copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two New York, NY (August 10, 2016) — Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two script book, the eighth Harry Potter story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne, published in the U.S. and Canada by Scholastic has sold more than 3.3 million copies in North America to date.Scholastic announced a first printing … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Vacation Time Has Turned “Spooky”

  Vacation Time Has Turned “Spooky” by Amy Lignor   Myths and legends, both spooky and surreal, are becoming the subject of many books and newspaper articles lately. And the location of many, oddly enough, happen to be in the Southwest. It used to be that a nice white sandy beach was the one place we yearned to go on vacation to get away from it all. Now, however, people are searching for places to travel where legends still exist, and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Doing Our Part

  Doing Our Part by Amy Lignor   There are books being published as of late – wonderful books telling the stories of amazing wildlife rescues, as well as neighborhoods and communities across the U.S. that have taken on projects to save the wildlife in their own surrounding areas.   We always talk about these “success stories,” yet never actually give information on exactly how these “problems” turned into “victories.” … [Read More its Good for You...]