Multi-pile grouping on Robert E. Lee
Loonies And Their Lawns: Part III
I am pleased to report that the art of the decorative rock-pile is not dead. One of the best things about my neighborhood, Barton Hills, is that it contains one of the largest, thrivingest populations of rock-pile enthusiasts anywhere. The rock-pile aesthetic, so widely embraced by the locals, adds no small oomph to the popular 78704 rallying cry/bumper sticker â€œSouth Austin: Weâ€™re All Here Because Weâ€™re Not All There.â€
Each pile commands a prominent position in its yard, contains at least 2 vertically-oriented rocks, and can soar to heights of up to 4 feet. Each also exudes a quality that is at once monumental, humanoid, and kooky. Without even trying, I could lead you to 10 of them within half a mile of here.
Visitors from the world over may or may not come to South Austin to marvel at the rock-piles to which I allude. â€œI came for the music,â€ says another bumper sticker, â€œbut I stayed for the piles.â€
Despite the best efforts of the Twisty Institute for Scholarly Rock-Pile Research, we may never know why certain indigenous Barton Hillians pile rocks in their yards while others merely display old couches. We may, however, be certain that the stone stackers’ purpose is not casual. We base this hypothesis on the pilesâ€™ universal proximity to other highly-prized and prominently displayed totemic objects: old washing machines, windchimes, pickup trucks or other rusting hunks of metal, and â€œAmerican For Peaceâ€ signs, to name but a few.
Though their motives remain shrouded in mystery, one thing is clear: the stackers of the rock-piles, like the builders of Stonehenge with whom they have so little in common, are gripped by an unfathomable force, occult with shadow and garbled, patchouli-scented alchemic dogma. Perhaps they are driven to harness the music of the spheres. Or perhaps they are just stoned.