Stunning Stone from Sacred Ground

Orange Torso #19, Arizona alabaster
Orange Torso #19, Arizona alabaster 20 x 10 x 6 cm

These orange alabaster stones caught my attention for their fiery red-orange color and beautiful transparency.

I found these stones at a building supply in Los Angeles. Chatting with the buyer, a strong proud man with a shine in his eyes, I was told that they had come from a stone quarry in Arizona. Interestingly, the quarry was on American Indian land and was only accessible to American Indians. Luckily for me he was himself an American Indian, so had  pulled these stones out of the ground, sacred ground, that seemed to radiate spirituality of that land and energy of all that had gone on there. The stone’s transparency, when held to the light of a sunrise or sunset, captured the light in a way that seduced the soul; much like the emotions stirred in people when they gazed upon the sun setting or rising.

I knew I would bring home to Amsterdam many of these stones. I felt as excited as a kid; which ones? What color? How many would fit in my suitcase? The stones were all speaking to me but I had to choose. In the end, I took maybe ten smallish pieces of deep red-orange or mixed with white.

The journey to bring these pieces home to Amsterdam turned out to be quite amusing…

Packing the stones safely into my suitcase, I proceeded to check in at Los Angeles International Airport. I wrestled the case on the scale and heard the dial shoot up, as did the eyebrows of the check-in clerk.”What have you got packed in there?” he asked me. “Stones” I replied and waited a beat for that to set in. “I make sculptures out of stone. I’m a starving artist.” This explanation seemed to suffice. I had learned that most people thought artists a bit mad, but admired us for our efforts. I watched his face as a mischievous plot seemed to cross his features. “Bernie…” (I’m sure his name was Bernie), he innocently asked of his colleague; butter could have melted in his mouth-“would you put this bag on the belt for me please?” His colleague was a stout little tank of a man. Typical ex-body builder, he had a barrel for a chest, arms to match, balanced on two not-so-built-up short legs, and yes, a weightlifting belt strapped around his waist. He strutted over, as body builders do, with an air of arrogant pity for this man-obviously in his view a pale specimen of the “Y” chromosome. “Ya sure, no problemo” he said as I watched him grab the handle of my case with an intended ease of movement. “Ugh!” He grunted when my case didn’t budge. “Ugh”, he pulled at it, “Ugh  ugh!!” Finally, red-faced and sweating, he wrestled my case on to the luggage belt.  I watched the guy behind the counter as secret delight flashed across his face. Satisfied in some secret revenge, he returned his gaze to me. “Yes” he said with a straight face, “the extra baggage weight fee”… and with a twinkle in his eyes and a wicked smile on his face, said to me, “No charge”.

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