After about 20 minutes and no sign of C & J, I went back into the store to retrieve them and get on with the day, at home! When I could not find them in the construction section, which was the reason we were there in the first place, I started searching aisle by aisle. I was looking for two guys wearing shorts carrying an air filter, so I almost missed them and had to do a double take when I spied them at the end of the electrical aisle. They had one shopping cart and a large rolling flat. The flat was piled high with orange construction lights. They had some of every variety the store offered. Hand held versions, ones with hooks, double units on tripods, you name it, and if Home Depot carried it they had loaded several of each on their buggy. Currently, they were filling their shopping cart with heavy duty outdoor extension cords.
“Those don’t look like air filters to me.” I said.
“We’re going to do a light installation in the woods tonight.” J looked at me and explained, “Like Andy Goldsworthy!” He then turned back to C and they continued their calculations of how many extension cords and junction boxes they would need to get power from the guest house to the a large stand of oak trees in the center of the woods.
A few minutes later I leaned against the check out counter as I watched a large woman with a tight blond perm wearing an orange apron scan their items. Her name tag identified her as Phyllis.
Before she could even ask, J looked her directly in the eyes and contrarily said, “We’re creating an expressive transient encounter that demonstrates the irregular disparity between nature’s organic design and the austere utilitarianism of the human intervention by focusing energy on individual objects while using the unlighted nocturnal surround to envelop those illuminated entities into one singular conceptual moment.”
Phyllis just stared back.
I wanted to speak up and interject, “We’re going to drink some tequila and hang a bunch of these lights in trees.” But instead I just leaned against the counter and smiled.
J could not get home fast enough. We spent the afternoon placing every light to best illuminate each ‘
individual object’ tree properly. Some were placed at the base of trees while other were hung forty feet up thanks to the help of my extension ladder J had hauled from the garage. The orange extension cords were run throughout the woods and he covered many of them by kicking leaves over them to hide their ‘austere utilitarianism’.
Just to make sure it was good and dark, we waited until around that evening to venture back outside. With a pitcher of margaritas in hand we made our way to the center of the woods and the grove of oak trees where much of the wattage had been positioned. J and I stood in the woods, cocktail in hand while C walked down to the guest house to plug in the main power cord.
“Tell me when,” C yelled back to us.
“OK. Now.” J responded.
All at once the woods light up like
Times Square. C jogged into the woods to join us and we raised our glasses in a victory toast.