Driftwood pyre over Lake Superior

I love stumbling upon these driftwood pyres, these pieces of beach art. A pyre, Google assures, can mean a pile of combustible material made for burning. It does not just apply to funeral ceremonies in India. This one overlooks Lake Superior over near Sand Point, just behind the Pow Wow grounds. They remind me of Solstice fires lit to celebrate the sun’s zenith and return. They speak of ancient ceremony, connection with nature, creativity, ritual, art, spirituality. I’ve glimpsed them on several secluded beaches over the years and they never fail to inspire. These questions swirl: Who made this? Do you feel the same way when you see one? What do you call them besides driftwood pyres? (Google says it’s a psychedelic Indie rock band from Minneapolis.) **Continuing the blogging theme of Photo Shorts. Share one photo on your blogsite–if you have one. Write something short. Then move on into your day.**

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in November 2021, Photo shorts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Driftwood pyre over Lake Superior

  1. leelah saachi says:

    Kathy, do you mean that we post the photo and short text here – on on our own blogsite?

  2. Stacy says:

    How pretty! Around here it would just be an ordinary bonfire. Tradition on the bayou dictates that we ignite one on Christmas Eve to light the way for Papa Noël. XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      Stacy, maybe it’s called an ordinary bonfire here, too. I dunno. What a sweet tradition to light the path for Papa Noel. That is so cool. Do you light one in your backyard. (PS–we had a bonfire at our house last night. I will post that picture tomorrow morning.)

  3. Debbie says:

    Such pretty things to see, especially on a hazy day and with all that water in the background!

  4. Dale says:

    I see something like this and I wonder just when the ceremony will take place. I’d not believe it’s just for art’s sake – especially so close to the shore!

  5. dawnkinster says:

    I see these in the parks too, back in the woods. I never see one being built, just the finished results.

  6. Oh! I’ve seen stacked stones and patterned stones, but not driftwood pyres. Now I think I may need to go to the river and build one. Love the photo short idea!! I may join the fun.

  7. Barb says:

    We have these in our woods, and I think of them as tepees. I think children and young people build them pretending to be Native people. Thankfully they’re never burned!

    • Kathy says:

      Interesting, Barb. I have never seen them in the woods. And yes–you wouldn’t want these burned ever! (wildfire potential) PS I enjoyed your recent post about your grandson. That was really sweet.

  8. sbwheeler says:

    We have suck stacks in the UK too, though mostly in woods. I remember building one with my brothers. People also build “beacon fires” that look a little like this, at significant times of the year. They may come from our Norse traditions and are just lit to be seen (by whatever spirits, living or not, that they attract). So one such “significant time” is the midwinter solstice. But those, I think, are stacked from the inside out. Maybe that one was just a marker, like the stones one sees piled in certain places. Maybe it’s just part of someone else’s memory of a great day by the lake. It doesn’t really matter, does it? Because in seeing it, it becomes its own part of our memory.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for sharing your information and traditions in the UK, too. I love that you said the questions don’t really matter. That is so true–what is precious is just the seeing of it. The questions may arise, but the beauty is in the moment of witnessing and being there.

  9. I can see how encountering a driftwood pyre would inspire and start one wondering. I don’t remember ever seeing one around here. Lighting a solstice fire on the beach sounds very appealing to me but I suppose we’d have to get a permit, if it would be allowed at all.

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, it will be interesting to see if this is still here come spring. I suppose the snow could knock it down. We have to get burn permits at different times of the year when there is wildfire danger.

  10. Reggie says:

    This is such a cool thing… I don’t think I’ve ever seen this down here. I love the idea of lighting a ceremonial solstice fire… It feels important to mark these days more consciously.

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