Since his passing on April 19, I have been thinking about how to write about David Bartholomew, previous owner/tenant of these wooded acres. Everyday that I have lived at Spring Bird, I have thought about David. I think about him in his carefully tooled signs, in his neatly stacked piles of logs, in the crutches that he fashioned for to prop the heavy bows of the yew trees, and in his fashioned handrails made from tree branches. He has left his careful, thoughtful marks on this land through his nurturing of it. I pray that we will be as loving to this place as he was.
In the fall of 2014, I interviewed Martha and David about Siloam for a grad school project. I recorded that interview on my laptop--you know, that brand new mac that I spilled my coffee on and ruined. We think that we saved the recording on a hard drive, but it may require a tech wizard to retrieve it. Anyway, all of this to say, I was really hoping to share with you David's telling of falling in love with this place--which at that time was Torkel Korling's arboretum. In that interview, David described arriving at Korling's open house with Martha and their son. They came to see the trees. They weren't intending to buy the property, but as he walked down the cement staircase he told himself, "No, I don't want to move!", but his body knew that this place was next to be his--for him to care for.
I have felt similar magic travelling down those stairs. One summer, Penelope and I sat on one of those cement steps surrounded by boxwood, sheltered by the dry stacked, stone wall. She told me how much she loved that staircase and suggested that we should make our own place there for just us. I wholeheartedly agreed.
Also, in that interview, David shared much more wisdom and advice, and if I can ever resurrect it, I'd love to edit it for you so that you may benefit from it. In the meantime, we have his signs and his woodland works to contemplate. In fact one of his famous signs has since disintegrated. It read, "You Are Here". I am sure I have written about it before, but this sign, for me, is the greatest joke and philosophical wisdom all wrapped into one. I love it so much that I printed it on tote bags, and I hashtag all of my Instagram posts with it as a constant reminder/invitation to remember that You Are Here--like right here--right now! So What! Now What?
Thank you David for all that you have done and been! Just like your sign, your body may not be here anymore, but your spirit very much is. I will continue to meet you in the trees!
Anna Lentz blogs about life at Spring Bird, her art making and other nature/art happenings.