Thursday, April 7, 2011


Quite a few years ago, I started leaving special rock sculptures when I traveled, or when I hiked on special trails. The sculptures were made from stones out of the Rock River an d generally also had a feather, a bead, and a coil of copper wire as a part of the construction. each sculpture had a laminated message on it indicating what it was and my address in case the finder wished to contact me. To date I have hung about 80 of them in around 15 states and 11 or 12 countries. I also gave them as gifts to people I met in my travels ( three in China, one in Ecuador, and one in Istanbul. I like to revisit sites where a sculpture was hung and if it is no longer there, a speculate on who may have found it and where it has gone. Over the years, I have received several letters from people who have discovered the sculptures. Below are some of the letters.

Dec 4, 2006

From Olen of Brattleboro, VT


Hi. I was hiking up Mount Wontastiquett yesterday. It was a beautiful day to be alone with Gods handiwork. When I got to the top I saw your beautiful “Hiking Stone” It was very unique and lovely. I do; “however”. Think it; as a work of human concept, is out of place in the nature preserve. Please concider this. Your art is very nice. I too am a artist. I do glass.



P.S. Merry Christmass! Peace to you.

[Generally, people who write to me are not the greatest spellers. Not sure why. This guy might have a point about appropriateness of my placement. However, at the time, I wondered why the tranquility he was seeking was not disturbed by the presence of the radio tower just behing where I hung my sculpture, but it was disturbed by my stone.]

On three different occasions, I hung a stone in Ogunquit, Maine along a hiking trail called "the Marginal Way" which overlooked the ocean. One of the teachers in my school came to me to let me know that he and his daughter had found one of the stones and he and his group of cross country runners checked out the sculpture later as well. Subsequently, I got the letter below.

Dec 20, 2006

Xmas card from Roger L - Artist from Gardner , MA

Notes on card –

The weight of stone?
The weight of a feather?
They do go together.

From Roger L
My Dog – Rambo Diesal

Hi Bruce Marshell,

My couriosity introduced me to an hanging sculpture (Nov 6) on “Marginal Way” at “Beautiful Place By the Sea” = Ogunquit. After reading the attached the note and my having lived in Montreal, Tell me is my gess right in thinking that you Bruce hung a sculpture of yours on “Mount Royal”? I too have Metals in RUST sulporting each from a tree in my back yard. It’s the Balance, Wgt, Sun of Orange – colours soon the snow will play on our amazement.

I drove to Williamsville, VT this past Nov 26. All seemed still at your home. I did like “The Top Hat “. Noted your sculptures at home at the barn across the street. It was already darkening. Would like very much to make a return visit, say next summer. Earlyer in the day. Although I have not painted , W/C for a few years. I’ll always feel rewarded that a gallery accepted 50+ of my works for an exhibit on Rue St Paul in Old Montreal. That is B/4 I went o Gardner in 1985 after 13 years in Montreal.

Thanks Bruce for making my trip to Ogunquit an added touch.


[For a while there, I thought Roger might be a stalker. Interestingly enough, he referenced a stone hung at Mont Royal in Montreal. I had hung a stone there. He had found stones in both Montreal an in Maine.Roger also sent a xmas card the next year with information on a wall mural in MA that he had recently restored.]

From the ladies bridge group of Sunbury, OH
October 26, 2007

Dear Mr. Marshall,

On October 24, 2007, our ladies bridge group of Sundry, OH took advantage of Skybus Airway’s $10 flights to Portsmouth, NH. As we walked the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine, guess what we found! Thank you for adding to our lovely trip.

The ladies from Sunbury

[These ladies also sent a picture of the sculpture that they had taken.]

From the residents of Ogunquit
November 17, 2007

The two rock, feather, wire and bead sculptures that you left hanging on trees along Ogunquit’s Marginal Way have been removed. We ask that you not place any more of your sculptures along our public footpath. The vegetation along the Marginal Way is very important, because it controls erosion. Wires wrapped around tree limbs cut into the park, opening the trees up to insects and disease.

We do not wish to have our visitors leave anything along our Marginal Way. If every artist who visits and loves Ogunquit left his or her work on the Marginal Way, it would soon be spoiled.

Please respect our town property. We are happy to have you visit and refresh yourself by walking the Marginal Way or the main beach, but we ask that you leave nothing behind after your visits.


Ogunquit Residents

[Of course they are right. I should not leave things behind. But, I do!]

Anne and I visited Mt. Agamenticus near York, Maine and I left a stone in the park there. I received this post card.

From Mt Agamenticus Conservation Program of York ME
June 2, 2008

Hi there –
Thanks for visiting Mt. A. Your Rock River stone has been relocated to our conservation office and is on display there, and has inspired intriguing conversation. It was moved to further our “leave no trace” mission. Any questions call Robin.

[I can never go there again. I envision a huge glass case with my stone and a big picture of me with a sign saying "Defiler of this beautiful park. Do you recognize this man?"]

I used to do a lot of hiking around Kilburn Pond near Hinsdale, NH. I think one of the sculptures that I left there is the one this letter is referencing.

October 5, 2009

From Sheila in Antrim, NH

Hello Bruce,

A few years ago my stepson,Jon, found one of your hanging sculptures in Hinsdale, NH. While painting his room after he left for college, I found the sculpture and your address. I thought I would write to you to let you know it had been found!

We do very much enjoy it and it now hangs in the window of his newly painted room in Antrim, NH.

Thank you for this creative art!


Anne and I visited San Antonio this February and I left a sculpture on the museum grounds at the McNay Art Museum.

30 March 2911
San Antonio, TX

I am writing to let you know that I found one of your sculptures. I found it on the grounds of the McNay Art Museum where I work as a security guard. I was thrilled to find it and when I read that it came from Vermont, I was even more amazed. I was born in Rutland, Vermont and lived there until I was 5 years old, last place being Brattleboro, VT. I feel like I was meant to find it. I felt maybe it belonged to a Vermont girl and I took it home. I was actually having some yearning for New England for a few weeks (I lived in CT until I was 23). Now I have it in my bedroom and I see Vermont every day. I love it and I love they way you are leaving them all over for others to find. I love rocks and have them spread all over my house but this is the best rock I will ever have because I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to afford a trip to Vermont again – this will be my Vermont forever.

Thanks again

Ruth W

[How incredible that she used to live in Brattleboro.]

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Old Wounds

Today, I discovered what I already knew. I found what had never been lost. I revisited a place I had never left.

Today, I peeked under the bandage of a 45-year old wound. And I found the underside of the bandage dripping with blood and the wound gaping. Such wounds, wounds to a fragile self cannot be healed. A self caressed with a skin, paper thin and vulnerable. Penetrable. Potential blood fountains!

In fear, I shield myself with an umbrella of melancholy and am soaked for my effort. I slather the wounds with medicinal forgetting, but remembrances of phantom limbs invade my thoughts.

I bathe my wounds in the light of day and wince. Unbearable. I return to my old friend darkness. The pain is familiar … rhythmic and measured once again.

In a way, it is reassuring. It reminds me that I am alive.