We spent last weekend with my mother-in-law in the town of Mount Shasta in far northern California (about 45 minutes south of the Oregon border). Saturday morning was magical, as chronicled in this post. By late afternoon, billowy clouds had begun to build up in the sky, and we decided to head to the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden for sunset.
Spectacular evening clouds
Looking northwest from Highway 97
The Living Memorial Sculpture Garden is located 13 miles northeast of Weed, California. Yes, there is a town named Weed (its motto is “Weed like to welcome you”), and in spite of the wealth of marijuana-related souvenirs being sold in local shops, it has nothing to do with pot. Instead, it gets its name from an early developer named Abner Weed. in 1897, he established the Siskiyou Lumber and Mercantile Mill, which by 1940 became the world’s largest sawmill.
We were the only visitors except for a Vietnam veteran and his wife driving this Ford Mustang GT. With Mount Shasta in the background, the car looked like it was in a sales brochure come to life.
It is situated on 136 acres of land provided by the USDA Forest Service, which were replanted with tens of thousands of trees by countless volunteers.
The trees are living tribute to those who have sacrificed their lives in war. The sculpture garden, a place for reflection & remembrance, healing & reconciliation.
The LMSG pays homage to all honorable veterans, in conflict and in peace.
This is a land of pine trees, sagebrush and manzanitas punctuated by volcanic rock. The wind can be fierce, but when it isn’t blowing, the quiet is so complete that it’s startling.
At the LMSG there are eleven metal sculptures by artist Dennis Smith who did a 13-month tour in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968. For him, the sculptures about about "war and the effects of war,” but he appreciates that “everyone comes with their own personal story that blends and interacts with the LMSG.”
While I did a stint in the military in the 1980s, I was never in combat nor do I have strong ties to the armed forces. However, there is something about the LMSG that engages me at a deeply personal level, and each visit is an emotional experience. Each of us has their own places of power; this is one of mine. And in a time of turmoil and uncertainty like the political climate we’re in right now, these sculptures seemed to take on added meaning.
I don’t expect that my photos will convey my feelings but at least they will give you a idea of what a spectacular spot this is.
Sagebrush (Artemisia sp.)
Dead sagebrush (Artemisia sp.)
Manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.)
Manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.)
Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus)
As we were walking around looking at the sculptures, the drama in the sky was intensifying.
What a sight:
One of three figures surrounding The Flute Player
While the western sky was ablaze with hues of yellow, orange and blue, the clouds shrouding the higher reaches of Mount Shasta were oddly colorless.
This is the most color the mountain itself received:
But elsewhere, the magic went on and on:
My day ended the way it had begun: with a display of wondrous beauty I had not expected.