March 06, 2011

W. Dixon

When I met up with filmmaker Dan Gingold at the Staten Island Ferry, I knew he was going to show me some parts of Staten I had never seen before, but I had no clue we would stumble upon 80-year old tree carvings too.

We exited the ferry and biked up the initial hill and then another, and another, and another. Each hill was punctuated by samplings of downhills that never quite matched the previous hill climb. About 40 minutes out on the island we made it to the destination of our abandoned target. We locked up and walked through the dead leaf-coated woods between the thorny brush and forgotten campsites.
This is where we discovered a patch of carved trees. Of the entire batch the most amazing were the 3 we found by W. Dixon. Dated 1930-1931, Dixon's carvings had widened with the growth of the trees. Some had widened so much from the initial incision that lines connected to become large scars.

So who was W. Dixon? Was there any correlation to the Hardy Boys series which was written during that same period under the pen name Franklin W. Dixon by Leslie Mcfarlane? 

For me it was so amazing to see these Arborglyphs on Staten Islande because I've only known them to have a big history on the west coast where a majority can be found by Basque sheepherders throughout the Sierra Nevada.

"Aspen carvings are simply the summer record of the Basque sheepherders in the American West," says The Center for Basque Studies at U.N.R..  And by record they mean their existence, their woes, their poetry, and of course their erotic fantasies. Check out basque carvings for some interesting drawings that are on track with train monikers.

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