Tag Archives: statue

Burning Man 2013: Part 1

And now it’s time…the main event.  Burning Man.  This was my 5th “Burn” and the more often I get asked, “What is Burning Man?” the more at a loss for words I am.  When you ask that question to one of the 65,000+ “Burners,” you’ll get 65,000+ different answers.

“It’s an art festival.”

“It’s the biggest party on Earth.”

“It’s a big family reunion.”

Burning Man is such a complex phenomenon that it really defies concrete description, so if I have a phone or computer nearby when someone asks me, I let Dr. Seuss explain it for me in 7 minutes:  (Parents, please view before showing to kids.)

Theodor Seuss Geisel would have loved Burning Man, because it is a world unto itself, where adults become kids, and kids see a world that actually makes sense to them for the first time.

When I am further pressed for a concrete explanation of Burning Man, I usually say something to this effect:  “Burning Man is when 65,000 people go into the desert in Nevada and build a utopian city (in which everything is free) that exists for only one week.  Inside the city they build the most spectacular art and fanciful machines, and they live for a week as humans are intended to live: in peace and harmony, celebrating each others’ differences (not just tolerating them), and connecting with each other without the pretense and decorum and formality that keeps humans apart in the outside or ‘default’ world.  At the end of the week, they burn it all to the ground, art included, and disappear, leaving no trace that they were ever there.  Then they go home, and start preparing to do the exact same thing again next year.”

This post will be about Burning Man 2013 at large.  The next post will be specifically about my camp, Camp Potluck, and what we do to contribute to the Burning Man community.

My partner came to Burning Man for the first time this year.  He was nervous.  *I* was nervous.  He’s not a big camper.  (Though camping at Burning Man is definitely luxurious camping.)  He likes to stay clean.  (We have a shower, but the event takes place in the dustiest place on Earth.)  He likes to sleep at night.  (Burning Man thunders 24 hours a day.)  He’s not a huge people person.  (People at Burning Man walk right into your camp, sit down, put their arm around you, and start talking like they’ve known you forever.)  But I knew that the city, the people, and the art would be such a powerful inspiration for his photography that he just had to come.

Within moments of his arrival, we struck out to explore the city and were immediately caught in a bee parade.  What’s a bee parade, you ask?  Why, a spontaneous parade of people and machines that look like bees.  And a few other folks who think that sounds like fun and they’ll tag along, too, thank-you-very-much.  Where are they headed?  Who knows?  Where did they come from?  Also a bit of a mystery, because there’s a LOT of them.  But it’s 6:47pm on Wednesday, August 28, and someone decided it was time for a bee parade.  A perfect, incongruous, nonsensical, fantastic distillation of Burning Man.

The event is called Burning Man, but the city itself is called Black Rock City, named after the desert where the ephemeral city exists for a week each year.  When it exists, it’s the 3rd largest city in Nevada, behind Vegas and Reno.  And it is large:

The city is laid out in an arc centering on “The Man,” a giant statue.  The inner street, Esplanade, is just shy of 2 miles long from end-to-end.  Each successive street gets longer, until the outer street, L or “Laissez-faire” (the street names change each year to correspond with the theme) is 4.25 miles long from end-to-end.  So you’ve got a total of 12 residential streets, totaling over 35 miles…all packed with exciting theme camps, art, and activities to explore and enjoy.  Combine this with the central open area around The Man, which is filled with art, and then the vast emptiness of “Deep Playa” where massive art installations live (along with rogue, spontaneous art), and you’ve got a city that’s far too large to see in a week.  Then you’ve got a big fat schedule of events hosted by theme camps nearly 200 pages thick, and that’s not even a fraction of them.  (The rest can be downloaded onto an app if you’d like to see them all.)  And after 7 days…it’s over.  And it’s never the same again the next year.  So at some point you have to throw your hands up and just resolve yourself to experiencing what you stumble across, rather than trying to soak it all in.

Before and after the city exists each year, this is what it looks like:

This is the wilderness, folks.  The bed of an ancient lake, dried up many thousands of years ago.  There’s no electricity.  No plumbing lines.  Everyone brings what they need to survive.  And then some.  And when the event is over and everyone is gone, a government agency sweeps the footprint to look for trash.  The last several years, the amount they’ve found has fit, it its entirety, into a gallon-sized ziploc bag.  Talk about leaving no trace…

The art is the first thing that comes to mind when Burners think about Burning Man.  Oh, the art!  Burning Man is one of the largest contemporary art collections in the world, but only its participants get to experience it, for most of the art is burned to the ground during the event.  Tragedy?  So say some.  But others see it as incredibly powerful that things of such potent beauty exist to be enjoyed only by a handful of appreciative, receptive eyes, and then vanish forever.

This is “Truth is Beauty.”  It is the second massive female nude sculpture by artist Marco Cochrane to exist at Burning Man.  Cochrane is doing a series of 3 sculptures here, and I will never forget his first one…”Bliss Dance” in 2010:

In 2010, I saw Bliss Dance far out on the horizon in Deep Playa.  I knew nothing about it.  I walked toward it for what seemed like hours, and it kept getting bigger and bigger.  It was so graceful and smooth, and when I took the last few steps and finally stood under her outstretched foot, I saw that she was made of sharp metal bars, with coils of razor wire for her hair…she stared down at me from the bliss of her graceful, yet somehow desperate and furious dance…I sat down in the dust and wept.  Never in all my travels have I seen a sculpture of such intense beauty.  So massive.

Truth is Beauty is Cochrane’s second installment in his Burning Man trilogy, and of course, my partner teased photos out of her that I could never have imagined:

Most of the photos in this post are taken by him, Christian Eggers, a fairly genius photographer who I knew would come alive at Burning Man.  Truth is Beauty…or “The Lady” as most Burners call her…is like a magnet, drawing people out across the desert into the Deep Playa, day after day, to gaze upon her ever-changing dance.  Around the base is scrawled a question: “What would the world be like if our women were safe?”  At night, she is lit from the interior by thousands of independently-controlled LED lights, and she glows in a surreal wave of motion that is hypnotic.  Of course, Christian sat beneath her for hours, waiting for the moon to rise, to capture this shot:

So often we experience a piece of art in a sole, singular moment.  Lit by a glaring museum light, or the sun at high noon.  Burning Man gives you the chance to experience art you connect with at all moments of the day and night, in dust storms and after a sudden rain…at twilight, and in the dead of night with naught but frigid starlight faintly illuminating each nuance.

And instead of the typical museum paranoia of preservation, with a docent hovering over you hissing, “You’re standing too close!”…at Burning Man, climb aboard!  The artists adore when Burners interact with their art:

The Lady is certainly not the only art at Burning Man.  There are literally thousands of art installations.  It’s hard to take more than 20 steps anywhere in the city without literally stumbling upon a work of art.  Like the Photo Chapel:

Posed in front of this macabre masterpiece is its creator, photographer Mike Garlington, a veteran Burning Man artist who compiled this ornate church with a collection of his best, darkest, most bizarre photographs:

Religious themed art is popular at Burning Man.  Late one night, we stumbled upon the “Church Trap:”

Unafraid, I entered the church, and at the front next to the pulpit was an actual working organ, with scrolls of ageing sheet music spiraling out of it into the rafters and out the steeple.  A girl dressed as a bunny rabbit was sitting at the organ, blaring out Dixieland jazz with flawless skill…at 3 in the morning.

Most of the art at Burning Man is burned at the end of the event.  But some of the art features FIRE as an ongoing part of the installation, not just its end:

Remember the old game Plinko?  Some artist spent the year building a truly massive Plinko with flaming bowling balls that ride up an elevator on one side, dump into the grid, and plink…plink…ROAR…plink…downward to the bottom, where they roll back onto the elevator and head back up to do it all again.  It took a team of 4 to keep this mammoth flaming installation running…and they did it all night…every night…just so Burners could stare, open-mouthed, in awe.  Do they get paid for this?  Quite the opposite.  They probably went flat broke spending every personal dime all year long on this project…just to bring joy and inspiration to the Burning Man community.

Some of the fiery art is even mobile:

This is “El Pulpo Mechanico,” the mechanical steam-punk octopus, built by artist Duane Flatmo using no modern technology to drive the reticulated arms, mouth, and eyes…only old-fashioned gears and bicycle chains.  El Pulpo sits on a chariot that moves about the playa each night, spouting fire, scaring the ever-loving-crap out of Burners already stunned and overloaded with the spectacle of the city.

El Pulpo is just one of more than 600 “art cars,” or “Mutant Vehicles” as they are officially called, at Burning Man.  Regular cars can’t be driven around the city once you have arrived at your camp.  The only vehicles permitted to roam the city must contribute to the aesthetic of the event.  The only rule is that they must be able to accommodate at least one passenger, in addition to the driver.  Some are as small as a fuzzy pink love-seat on top of a golf cart base.  Some are so massive that a hundred people can be dancing on top as the vehicle moves around the playa:

Again…who gets paid to create these wonders?  Nobody.  The cost to produce this duck dance bar nearly hit the $200,000 mark.  A group of folks pooled their resources and spent a few years building it, and brought it to Burning Man so people could dance on top of the coolest thing they’ll ever dance on.  Will it ever come back to Burning Man?  I guess you’ll have to go to find out.

Some mutant vehicles are smaller, but every bit as impressive.  This steam punk horse carriage passed by our camp each day:

For those who aren’t familiar with steam punk, a good way to describe it is how folks in the 1800s would have envisioned futuristic technology.  Think Sherlock Holmes making sci-fi.  The use of low-tech, age-old technology to make something futuristic, but with antique aesthetic.  It’s a very popular style at Burning Man, both for art and for costumes.

Enjoy this 4 and a half minute random buzz around Burning Man:

But what of The Man?  After all, the event is named after him.  Who is he?  And why is he burned?  Does he represent man’s ego, which must be destroyed before he can truly see others?  Does he represent corporate or government greed, and society’s thirst for anarchy?  Does he represent masculinity, trying to dominate his realm while subconsciously furious that only woman can create life?  Is he an idol, to be worshiped as a god, and then destroyed to liberate mankind from religion?  There are as many theories as there are people who’ve heard of Burning Man.  None of them are correct.  And all of them are correct.  The Man is whoever or whatever you want him to be.  Only one thing is certain.  On Saturday night, he will burn.

The Man himself is the same every year, though the base he stands on is different.  This year, he perched atop a janky wooden UFO, in keeping with the theme “Cargo Cult.”  When Allied forces landed on remote Pacific islands during the second World War, the primitive communist cultures there thought they were gods from the heavens, and were in awe of all the “cargo” they carried with them.  After the departure of military forces, some members of these cultures formed “cargo cults” and built crude sculptures with whatever they could find to represent the space ships (airplanes) and weapons of the gods.  They changed from a civilization with no private property or goods to becoming fiercely selfish…attaining as much “cargo” for themselves as they could.  So this year’s Burning Man theme explores how much “cargo” we covet in our modern culture, as opposed to how much we truly need to be happy and fulfilled.  Communist?  Perhaps.  Burning Man is a supremely communist event.  Money is not allowed in the city.  Everything is free…from meals at restaurants to drinks at bars to…God in Heaven Above forgive us for this Greatest of all Sins…free health care.  Everyone is expected to contribute what they have to the community.  If you’re a dot-com millionaire, maybe that’s a big dance club, a restaurant, a medical tent, sponsoring artists or gifting tickets to those who can’t afford them, or simply helicoptering in to the city to serve grilled cheese sandwiches for a day, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg did this year.    If you’re a broke barista, but great at massage, maybe that means you hang out on the corner a few hours a day and gift foot massages to tired Burners who’ve walked 20 miles that day.  Somehow or other…it all works.

But before you go labeleling the event as anti-American because it is communist at its core…very, VERY few Burners live under the assumption that Burning Man could exist all year.  Unthinkable amounts of money are spent to make it happen.  It couldn’t exist without the 51 weeks of capitalism that fund it.  But it IS a reminder for all, from Adams to Zuckerberg, that greed and selfishness pulls us away from each other, and that the truly precious things in life are never material.  Some notes in The Temple this year really bring it home:

Which brings me to The Temple.  My favorite part of Burning Man.  Each year, a different organization is given the responsibility to build The Temple.  They do it with no help from the organization that plans Burning Man.  The community contributes the funds to build it.  And each year, it is stunning.

This year, the team that built The Temple did so with no mechanical fasteners whatsoever.  No nails or screws.  Not even wood glue.  Each joint in this massive structure was cut precisely to fit.

…a feat of craftsmanship that is RARELY seen in this era.  Again, every last second of time was volunteered.  Every last penny was given by the community.  It was a truly a masterpiece of blood, sweat, and tears.

This year, it was called The Temple of Whollyness…dedicated, of course, to the desire that each person feel whole, and the desire that eventually all humans will realize we come from one place, we have the same needs, hopes, and dreams, and we are all part of one whole.  The Temple isn’t a particularly religious place, though it is always the most sacred, spiritual place I’ve ever stood.  Yes…many, many people pray there.  Not always to the Judeo-Christian god, of course, as Burners come from all over the world and embrace many faiths.  But The Temple is a place to witness and celebrate surviving the human experience.  People come here to purge…to cast off their regrets and fears, to confess, to celebrate and be thankful.

Unlike most holy places, this IS a place to write on the walls.  By the end of the week, there is so much human anguish and celebration scrawled on The Temple that even approaching it, it resonates and throbs.  There are thousands of photos of loved ones who died, people and pets.  There are vicious lashings-out against parents or partners.  There are pleas for forgiveness for having done wrong.  There are words of hope.  And at the end of the week, it goes up in flames, carrying all that intense emotion to the heavens:

The Temple fire is vicious.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  Tornadoes of fire leap up a hundred feet into the sky:

As the tornadoes leave the flames, they suck up smoke and dust and grow larger and higher:

And unlike the burning of The Man, which is celebratory and primal, The Temple is burned in complete silence, with only the sound of weeping and praying in the occasional lull between the roar and heat of the flames.  Afterward, there is catharsis.  People walk as close to the fire as possible, baptized by the searing heat.  Some hold hands and sing songs.  Spirituals, mostly.  But sacred songs in many languages rise into the night sky.

So while people love to place Burning Man in all sorts of boxes, for me, The Temple sums it up.  It’s a place where people come once a year to belong to a family that accepts and loves EVERYONE, regardless of who they are and what they believe.  Unfortunately, churches have yet to perfectly provide that.  Families have yet to perfectly provide that.  But Burning Man has figured it out.  Somehow.

To finish, enjoy 7 minutes of my annual video on The Temple.  Don’t watch this with anyone else around.  Close the door.  Turn off the phone and the TV.  Let these words of anguish and triumph, doubt and joy sink into your soul.  You’ve felt this way before.  We all have.  So none of us is alone.  We are all part of one human family.


The Tale of the Little Bird and the Silent Statue

I wrote this little story many years ago, after being captivated by the children’s stories of Oscar Wilde.  Just like his allegories, this not really a story for kids.  It’s a story for the adults who read them aloud to kids.

Sharon and Snoopy

I decided to share it with you today in honor of my neighbor, Sharon.  Years ago, she lived in Arkansas, taking care of her ailing mother.  All day and all night, she heard mournful barking and howling next door.  A little gray schnauzer was cooped up in a pen in the backyard.  No one ever played with him.  He was very lonely.  His owner, a young girl, had been killed in a car accident, and the dog was too much of a painful reminder to the girl’s parents.  So they kept him penned up in the back.

Sharon had never been a dog person.  In fact, she didn’t even like dogs.  But she was so annoyed by the constant barking and howling that she took pity on him.  She stole him.

Several days later, the dog’s owner knocked on her door and asked if she had seen “Snoopy” anywhere, and she said, “Yes, he’s here in my house because no one ever pays attention to him when he’s locked up in that pen in your back yard, and he howls all day long.  Do you want him back?”

The man gave Snoopy to Sharon, knowing he would have a better life.

Already in her 50s, Sharon had no idea what to do with a dog.  But she learned.  And slowly, Snoopy made paw prints on her heart and they became inseparable.  After Sharon’s mother passed away, she moved to Dallas, and I first met her and Snoopy when she was unloading her moving truck, about to become my new neighbor.

For the past 2 years, Snoopy has been slowing down.  At 16 years old, he had already outlived many schnauzers.  It was not easy for Sharon to watch him decline in health, like she had to watch her Mother.

Today, Sharon made the painful decision to let Snoopy go.  I took them to the vet, and then to the crematory.  Sharon wants to take Snoopy’s ashes to the grave of the little girl who had been Snoopy’s first mommy.

The loss of a pet companion is heartbreaking.  Animal companions have a way of sneaking deeper into our hearts than most people.  Snoopy completely changed Sharon’s life.  So, to them, I dedicate this little story…

The Tale of the Little Bird and the Silent Statue

Once upon a time, there was a little bird.  He lived by the sea, and every day he would fly high above the foam-capped waves and cry to the clouds, “I am ME!”

This was not a particularly articulate bird, mind you, for he never listened in school.  But he was very intelligent and very spirited…and very bold and independent.

One day, he was soaring higher than he had ever flown before, high above the misty, troubled seas.  The sharp wind tussled the feathers of his face, but still higher he flew.  The wind grew frigid and the sky became dark.  A great black cloud spouting fire rose up in the distance.  This made the little bird fly just a bit slower, but only for a moment…for he regained his courage, sharpened his wings, and sped even faster and higher.  He did not know why he felt the need to fly this far from shore.  Yet the need was still there.

The black cloud reached out with spindly, fiery talons to clutch at the little bird.  Yet on he flew.  The wind grew bitter cold and fierce, and the little bird could not see.  Fear began to tug at the little bird’s heart, and as icy drops of rain spit at his face, he began to wonder if he would ever see land again.

Thunder crashed like a cannon in his little ears, and the wind tossed him about until he was quite dizzy.  Soon, he had exhausted all his strength, and his senses began to fade into a blackness as deep as the storm that surrounded him.


The sun pierced the sky brilliantly, stinging the dripping trees and grass, frightening away the soggy shadows and filling the sky with sharp yellow light.

The little bird slowly opened his eyes…one at a time, mind you, for he had a terrible headache…and found himself in quite an appalling state.  His feathers were matted and rubbed into a ruinous tangle.  His tail had been plucked away.  His feet were bruised, his beak was torn, and his eyelids were very swollen.

He lay quiet and still until the ground came to a complete stop, and then gingerly looked about himself.  He was quite lost, he decided, for all about him was a shocking amount of green.  There was very little green in the seaport where he lived.  It was always gray and dull, a maze of concrete, metal, and dingy water.  But here…here was different!  The sky was a pristine cobalt blue and deep hues of green had been draped everywhere.

“I am not on the ground,” he thought, “For down there it is very wet, and I am quite dry.”

He was an observant little bird, considering the night he had just endured.  Indeed, he was not lying on the ground, but nestled inside the cupped hands of a large, old statue standing in the middle of a grove of ancient oak trees.  It frightened the little bird when he first saw the statue’s weather-streaked face staring stonily at him.  But once he realized that the statue was not moving, he began to calm down again.

“Thank you, Statue,” said the little bird cautiously, “for I would be quite soggy right now if it weren’t for your big hands.”

The statue said nothing.

“I must have blown in with the storm, for I have never seen a land like this.  Where am I?”

The statue said nothing.

“He must be asleep,” thought the little bird.  “Ah, well, I have thanked him enough.  Now I shall return to my home.”

He stretched his wings to fly away, but one of them would not quite do what he told it.  It just hung awkwardly at his side.  A few seconds later, the pain hit him with force and he barely had time to realize that his wing was broken before the unhappy darkness swept over him again.


When the little bird awoke, he thought it was beginning to rain again because a drop of water had splashed gently across his ruined beak.  He turned his stiff little neck up to the sky, but there was not a cloud in sight.

“How odd,” thought the little bird.  “In this land, it does not have to be cloudy to rain.”

Splash!  Another drop bounced off the top of his head and again he turned his eye skyward.  This time, he saw the source of the drops.

Beneath the stony glare of the statue’s weathered eyes were deep grooves, and out of these grooves dripped heavy tears, one by one, drop by sorrowful drop, until they splashed wetly onto the little  bird’s head.

“Excuse me!” cried the little bird, “But your tears are falling on my head and making me wet.  Why are you crying?”

The statue said nothing.

“Well it won’t do you much good to cry all day without talking about it!”

Still, the statue did not reply.

“Why won’t you answer me?” the little bird pouted.  He was angry at the statue, and his little feelings were hurt.

But still, the statue would not say a thing.

The little bird was frustrated.  He had never been in such a predicament.  He was lost in a strange green land.  His wing was broken, his tail was gone, his beak was ruined, and his feet hurt very badly.  And now a statue was crying on him.  He tried to crawl back as far into the statue’s cupped hands as he could, but the tears kept falling.  Now they were trickling down his back onto his little broken wing.  The salt from the tears stung his flesh and he began to understand how seriously he was hurt.

He crouched in the stony haven and shivered as the sun chased the horizon into dusk.  Vicious, spidery tendrils of shadow crept over the bright greens and blues, swallowing them into a drab gray.  The little bird perked his head as the unfamiliar sounds of the night began to rise out of the emptiness.  From over the distant hills drifted the mournful howl of a coyote…  From high overhead, an owl questioned the little bird with a haunting “Who?  Who?”…  And as the gnarled ropes of darkness strangled the last rays of sunshine into oblivion, an orchestra of crickets began their synchronous symphony to the night.

This terrified the little bird.  He had never heard such strange and frightening noises before.  Forgetting the pain searing into his broken wing, he threw himself upon the cold stone of the statue’s hand.  He desperately needed to feel its touch on as much of his broken little body as possible.  He sobbed fitfully as bony fingers of darkness tried to pry him away from his protector.

“Please, Mr. Statue, please!  Save me!” he cried, his little voice getting weaker with each breath.

But the statue said nothing.

Only the drip, drip, drip of its tears as they steadily increased.

The fingers clutched harder at the little bird.  He held onto the statue with all his might, but everyone knows little birds don’t have hands.  And his already-bruised feathers were losing strength as the icy talons tugged furiously at him, inching him closer to the edge of the faithful stone hand that protected him from the swirling inferno of night-sounds and darkness that threatened to swallow him whole.

The little bird screamed and the shrill sound of his cry pierced the night like a sword.  If he had not been in such a desperate state, he might have noticed that the statue’s hands seemed to close protectively around him just a bit…perhaps it was imagination, nothing more.

But perhaps not.

The fury of the cold night monster flared up around the shattered little bird as he wept and cried formless words and pleas to the statue.  The statue was his only life.  His only hope.  Yet it would not speak to him.  Not a word of comfort.  He could not understand.  And the icy spider claws were closing now about his throat, determined to stifle his cries for help.

Suddenly, a wave of silence swept over the land, almost as if time had stopped.  Though it was the dead of night, the little bird for an instant saw the sun high in the sky, the soft green of the trees and the fields, and the shocking blue of the sky.  He looked above and saw the statue that was his protector smiling down at him.  He saw within the statue’s stony chest a heart bigger and redder than any he had ever seen.  But he also saw that the statue’s mouth had been shut…nailed shut long ago by evil men…shut so tight that nothing could ever open it again.  And he saw in the statue’s heart an overwhelming love that he could not understand.  A love that the statue would never be able to explain to him.  And as the glorious vision began to fall apart, piece by ragged, darkening piece, he saw a single, final tear fall from the statue’s hollow eye.  A tear of sadness.  A tear of pain.

A tear of love.

The tear fell onto the little bird’s throat and softened the pain of the death tendrils that were tightening ever so furiously.  And as the vision of the statue blurred away into night, the little bird felt strangely quiet and peaceful…and somehow a much more wonderful bird than he had ever felt before.  And somehow, he no longer needed the words of the statue to comfort him.  The tear had been enough.


The sun rose brilliantly on the verdant valley, seeming more hostile to the shadows of night than it had been the morning before.  The darkness fled, as if guilty, into the recesses of the distant hills.

The gracious light bathed a stand of stately oak trees in pale yellow light, caressing their branches with warmth.  In the center of the trees, the light found an old weathered statue, strangely moist from the dew.  In the statue’s outstretched hand, a remnant of evil night still lurked.

As the sun rose higher, it chased away the goblin shadow, and revealed a little bird, stretched lifeless upon the rough hewn stone.  His feet were shattered and his beak was ruined.  His wing was broken and his tail was gone.  Yet on his neck, the sun found a single bright diamond-drop of dew, shining brilliantly in the light.  Its rays reached out toward the statue and caressed its face, kissing it lightly on the lips.

Suddenly, with a loud crack, two nails fell from the mouth of the statue and crashed to the ground.

The trees waited in silence and awe, for they were still saplings when the statue’s mouth had been nailed shut.

The statue wiggled its jaw very slightly, to work out the kinks of hundreds of years of silence.  When it was certain its mouth could move sufficiently, it cleared its rusty throat in preparation.

All Nature held its breath in anticipation of the statue’s words.

The statue looked down at the body of the broken little bird, and its heart surged within its stony chest…

And the state said nothing.

For it could find nothing to say.