The River Is on Fire
Fungal growths infect trees, entering through the same processes of uptake that pull minerals and water from soil. Fungi colonize layers of wood, and continue to spread after the tree dies, often appearing inky black in the finished grain of an infected timber. The East Austin cedar elm that dropped the limb used to fashion this instrument eventually succumbed to fungus, a history made visible in black layers that contrast starkly against the cedar elm’s metallic grain. Gazing at the surface of this instrument, one thinks of the cataclysmic events at the end of the Cretaceous, whose charred evidence lay visible in exposed rock strata. Where once an ancient river flowed, petrified ash and fragmented carbon remain. For a moment, though, as seen through the panicked eyes of mega-fauna, the river was on fire.
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