On January 12, 2013, I was at Webster (Where Life is Worth Living) Park on the shore of Lake Ontario shooting some interesting ice patterns in the water. I was there about 2 hours and as I was leaving I saw a gentleman building these stone pyramids about 30-40 yards from the shore. He had on heavy waders and the water was probably 3-4 feet deep. The water is near freezing at this time of year so this could not have been an easy task. This shot is looking North just before sunset. The man left before I had a chance to ask about them but my theory is that they may be a tribute to the two first responders that were killed on Christmas Eve last year not far from this site. That tragedy made national news.
I went back to this location the next day with my 70-300 mm lens and got some tighter shots of each of the pyramids. One thing I noticed was that one of the pyramids has what appears to be a note on one of the rocks just above the water line. It can be clearly seen in one of the photos below. This part of the park is not well attended during the Winter except by folks who live in the area or fishermen so I’m not really sure how many people saw these. Two days later they were gone, except for the very bottom layers, probably due to high winds and very rough waters. I returned every day for a week after to see if the note washed ashore but I never found it. Two week later this is all iced in for about 50-75 yards from shore so my guess is the note is committed to the deep.
This indeed a great mystery. Keep looking for the note and let us know if you find out anything more about the builder of the pyramids. It is too bad they have tumbled so quickly… I would have like to have seen them.
Thanks, John. I’m kicking myself for not notifying you when I first saw them. It would have been great to compare photos but in addition I think you would have been as thrilled as I was when I first saw them. I’ll know better next time. Mea culpa.
I remember your first picture which I liked very much. It’s a sad story that those two memorials disappeared. May be you will find the note one day.. it looks so calm..
Thanks, Chantal. Like most things in life, I don’t think these were intended to last but they did serve their purpose.
The photos are lovely, peaceful, calming. I think you are right – the memorials were not meant to last, but to stand as a satisfying if short-lived tribute to the deaths of the first responders. Thank you for capturing them.
Your welcome, Sarah.
Hi Ken – what an interesting story. The photos are very compelling too. I like how you aligned the top of the pile with horizon in the first picture.
Thanks, ehpem. I have one photo that is wide enough to include a bit of shore line, but the pyramids look insignificant because they appear to be too small in the photo.
I have the grid turned on in my eyepiece that helps align straight horizons. It’s very helpful with sea and landscapes.
Interesting story – makes me wish I knew all of it! Great photos, too.
Thanks, Milinda. Here is a link to the story about the fire fighters.
I’ve seen small stacks of stones like these in the woods from time to time, and I’ve assumed they’re trail markers. The ones in the water might be a conceptual art project.
Thanks, Steve. You could be right about the art project. The builder was loading his car with more rocks he found on the shore, possibly for another pyramid.
These look a lot like heiau, which are rock structures that Hawaiians build to commemorate loved ones. We sometimes see them along the roads at places where people have died in accidents. There are huge and very old ones in state and national parks here that were traditional Hawaiian places of worship. It’s kapu (taboo) to disturb them.
Thanks, Mel. I also heard Native Americans did something like this to mark grave sites. It wouldn’t surprise me if many cultures had similar traditions.
This looks like something Andy Goldsworthy would do, but that is not a fact, just a reminiscence. Sad story, but beautiful imagery and thoughts.
Thanks, Nicolas. Andy has made some incredibly complex structures but I can see your meaning. They are so well done.
Very interesting and mysterious. Would definitely be interesting to see what the note says. It sort of reminds of the artist (I can’t remember his name) whose work was done in such a way that the elements would destroy it within a few days.
Ditto on stone markings common around the world. I’ve seen them many places, and it strikes me it is something that connect people on another level . . . they let you know another human has shared this space with you.
The builder knows someone who sees them will recognize them as man-made, and it is a method to be remembered, as sorts. They are used for many purposes, but I think that, to mark where one stood and looked about, is probably the most common.
Certainly better than writing on a wall, or carving a tree . . . humans altering the environment to mark their passage goes way, way back, and this is one of the least objectionable.
P.S. for some reason, I had stopped getting notices about your posts. Other bloggers as well. Going through now to see what I missed here an on other sites.
Thanks, Emilio. I agree, it’s a fitting, though temporary, memorial, like everything else in life.
It’s like a cairn – a pile of rocks you see a lot in the high country out here to mark trails that are not very clear. Interesting mystery – maybe one day you’ll find out what it was all about and share it with us.
THAT’S THE WORD I WAS LOOKING FOR!!! I may run into this man again because I’ve seen him at the Lake before. I will ask him about his thought about them.
Terrific post, I just love a good mystery like this. Really wonderful words to go along with the great images here, a very captivating post to visit and enjoy!
Thanks, Toad. I intend to follow up on this mystery and if ever I find anything out I’ll post it here.
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