Story of the Stump

downloadstumpI’m so excited to finally get to the keyboard with my big nagging question of the week. What’s the Story of the Stump? There’s big tree stump that projects beyond the metal guard rails on Westfield Boulevard. It is the hewn end,separated by slightly unparallel swaths of a good sized chain saw. It has the shattered irregular shards of the wood dividing its center, a jagged path of near a foot and half.
The peculiar part that piques my interest is that the stump is decorated. I don’t mean memorialized, accident site decorated. Its more face- painted. Today’s version hosts a five point white star with two bull’s eye rings of red and blue. Last month it was a flower, an umbrella before that.
Each month or holiday features a different painted image. For example, in the year plus I’ve traveled this route I’ve seen a shamrock, heart, ornament, turkey and pumpkin. I almost always notice, even when I try not to. More times than not, the stump makes me smile. Back in the fall, a less able spray painter added Bat Man wings. It was rainy and cold but, within days normal artist was back in control. Taggers and others who may want to play seem unwelcome.
I realized I had a lot of questions ruminating. One side of the street is an older, established neighborhood. The stump face does not point directly at any home. The Stump side of the street is inhospitable to walkers, besides the Monon Trail parallels said street for pedestrian activities. Traffic along this corridor can be treacherous depending on the time of day. The rise and fall of the streets incline makes for dangerous navigation. Who does this? I wonder. And Why?
A friend and I headed to lunch on Tuesday. She’s been at our company for nearly 10 years. I remarked, “So what’s up with the Stump?” She answered, “I don’t know whats with the Stump, but I approve. “ “Hummm” was all I had to that. Since then, it’s become a bigger source of amusement and curiosity. Mentioning it at dinner, my husband’s answer was “its folk art.” But the back story is yet to be revealed.
Do I create my own stories about the why’s and how’s of the stump? Do I just enjoy the folk art and ignore the questions? Do I investigate and encourage conversation? Do I risk losing a bit of the wonder, chuckle or folk art experience by gathering the facts? I’m feeling stumped. What would you do?

3 thoughts on “Story of the Stump

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Here is my dimes worth. First, thanks for the wonderful story. You have set the stage and now wonder which fork in the road to take.
    I like the idea of investigation and encouraging conversation. Let the people decide where this goes!

    HOWEVER, since you brought this up, I feel there is a writers obligation to gather as many facts, tidbits, and recollections as you can find, by gathering more facts. There is a story waiting to be told.
    I would dig some more. I think if you waited for people to take the ball and run you might be waiting a longer than your time budget allows. (LOL).
    I am looking forward to the next installation of your series.
    Have a good day.
    Steve H.


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