Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Like a Rock

by Drew Martin
A big medical office building is going up across the street from my house. The excavators dug a huge, deep pit for the foundation. At one point, when the hole was rectangular, perfectly flat at the bottom and tidy all around, a lone, big rock stuck up out of the ground; the tip of a boulder the size of a car. There was something mesmerizing about this scene. Here was a rock that had been buried under soil and clay for hundreds of years, maybe much longer. It reminded me of a Zen garden. It was not surrounded by pebbles raked by Buddhist monks, but packed earth with a rippled pattern of metal tank treads. I thought it would be nice if the builders would leave the rock and just pour the foundation around it so there would be this surprise in the basement. One late afternoon I decided to go out and photograph it but the sun had set and it was very dark. So I set up my tripod and because I was shooting black and white film I overrode the shutter speed and exposed the film for almost twenty seconds. The result is the image here. The next day the workers showed up with jack hammers and backhoes and broke the rock up into little pieces and put it on the side to be carted away later. The ground was flat.