In Bluff UT, during the winter solstice (21 Dec 2012), the town’s folk are going to burn a 16-foot-tall mammoth in effigy. The mammoth will be burned at 8 pm in a ceremony complete with flaming spears to set the “mammoth” on fire.
No, no, no, I’m not making this up. My imagination is not that good.
The mammoth, which currently stands proudly in an empty field near the center (wherever the hell that is) of the town of Bluff, located approximately 100 miles south of Moab, was constructed using only sticks, branches, and two support poles. The effigy is the work of J.R. Lancaster, Scott Pachak, and a group of 30 volunteers.
I’m no expert on monumental art, but the Bluff wooden mammoth is good stuff. It is every bit as good as the Sun Tunnels or Spiral Jetty. Perhaps even better. Good work J.R. and Scott.
So why build a 16-foot-high wooden effigy of a mammoth (and then torch it)? According Pachak to bring attention to the local rock art . . . some panels are purported to show mammoths.
Of course, why didn’t I think of that?
According to Andrew Gulliford, a Fort Lewis College professor, “Who needs to go to Nevada for the Burning Man Festival when you can go to Bluff and burn a mammoth.” Isn’t Fort Lewis College in Colorado where recreational pot smoking is now legal?
Good point professor! Let’s keep the tourism and crazy money in the 4-Corners area. Hell, I’m as crazy as the next guy. And Bluff is the undiscovered jewel of southern Utah. There are nice places to stay, good food, Anazasi ruins, petroglyphs, river running, etc.
I’ll see you there. More reports later? Who knows. For a slideshow by J.R. of the Mammoth project click here.
Postscript: for those of you who missed the burning ceremony, here is some video footage: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://i4.ytimg.com/i/7HOt9VtXwbrc6_Qf9RImEw/1.jpg%3Fv%3D4fc532bd&imgrefurl=http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Dzvam_073rTs&usg=__nd8vlalSd-iHGl1qENqRenPRxhw=&h=88&w=88&sz=3&hl=en&start=45&zoom=1&tbnid=OMEP1XFYPM57gM:&tbnh=77&tbnw=77&ei=fIjbUMzxCOGQ2AXC5oGoCA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dburning%2Bmammoth%2Bbluff%2Butah%26start%3D40%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Dactive%26sa%3DN%26gbv%3D2%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1