Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tree Shaped Tombstones - Strange Birds

Even on road trips sometimes you have to hurry a bit.  On a swing down to Prairie du Chien to look for old brewery caves I found myself in and out of cell phone communication with somebody who wanted me to be working on the other side of the state at 8am the next morning. Sigh.

But I pulled up out of the signal blocking river valley and came upon a very lonely looking cemetery. When you come across a site like this - on a road you may not travel again - it behooves you to stop and look around.

There was only one "tree shaped tombstone" but what an odd one....

It is a fairly early one, from before the era when these became more standardized.  Note the three tiered square base on which a rather, well, stumpy stump sits.  The day was getting on a bit, this usually gives you great light from one side and crap from the other direction.  This view at least shows nice detail and that great yellow "tombstone lichen" that adds to the visual appeal of these markers.

We have one bird up on top.  As is often the case the head has fallen off.  But the bird has other issues stylistically, note the crudely slapped on wings?  And the blunted tip of the wing seems to be intentional rather than to damage and weathering.  Down below we find a second bird.  Sorry about the lighting on this one.

Here the ridiculously long neck is probably intentional as the bird wraps around from one face of the monument to another.  These were supposed to be doves but honestly this looks like a duck to me. And who knows, maybe that was the intent.  It is about 50% bigger than the up top bird.

And it is not just the bird that wraps around, the inscription does so as well.  Peculiar, I can't say I have ever seen that done.

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