Cairn Sculpture

 

This simple cairn reminds me of a seal.

This simple cairn reminds me of a seal balancing a ball.

One thing we have come to look forward to on our daily walks along the shore in Maine is the cairn sculpture.  This past weekend someone had been very busy and we came across two dozen or so, of varying complexity.  This got me curious about cairns.  I found that they have been used since pre-history as directional markers, a use they still have today.  I noted them on the summit of Mount Washington when we were up there watching the White Mountain Arctic butterfly studies.  [See this post]  The summit is a maze of rocks and closely spaced cairns marked the trail, as it was easy to go astray, even in the clear weather we had that day.

You could easily get lost in the fog, were it not for these closely spaced cairns.

You could easily get lost in the fog, were it not for these closely spaced cairns.

When we were on the shores of Hudson Bay in November, 2012, [See this post] we saw a cairn known as an Inuksuit, erected as a location marker for the town of Churchill by the First Nations people living there.   This striking cairn was anthropomorphic in design.  One afternoon I saw a Polar Bear walk right by it, giving it a glance, but didn’t have my camera handy.

Churchill, Manitoba's Inuksuit.

Churchill, Manitoba’s Inuksuit.

Here are a few of the cairn sculptures we saw last weekend in Maine.

Many like this "peopled" our walk.

Many like this “peopled” our walk.

A simpler design.

A simpler design.

This conveys a message of love with it's heart.

This conveys a message of love with it’s heart.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Denise Hughes said,

    What an interesting topic. I didn’t know cairns have so many messages.

    I’ve seen a couple of cairns in the mountains south of Caldwell, Idaho.. The sheepherders made them. I’ve never met anyone who knows the purpose of the cairns.

    Like


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