I grew up on a farm in Day county, South Dakota, the glacial lakes region. One of the things that exists on the farm that few farms have is a real live cemetery. I am not certain of the dates as to when the cemetery originated, but it was when wagon trains trekked through the region from the east. A family lost 2 daughters to cholera and they buried the girls on this hill. When I was a child, my father showed me the "less than obvious" stones that marked the children's graves. The hill is one of the highest points in Day County and offers a panoramic view to the west. At sundown you can see 45 miles to Aberdeen. The more I thought about it, the more I realized these unfortunate children needed a proper headstone. So.................. One winter during my youth I created this piece. The wings are the front quarter panels of a 1950 Ford. I cut the cactus using 2 railroad signal switch crossing posts. The center piece has a bell footing with bolt holes, and the arms are cut and welded from the other. The bird is mounted on a wheel spindle and rests inside the top and it pivots with the wind. Its rear is always windward. The head is fabricated from the hood of a car. I cut a pattern from cardboard and transferred it to the hood, cut it and shaped it into the head. It has a pivot point similar to those bobbing dogs in your rear view mirror. The breast is formed from a piece of expanded metal. Rebar talons wrap around the exhaust system from the same car. A structural crossarm holds the thing together. The foundation that supports it is a concrete footing. Unfortunately I never learned the names of the girls buried there. I scratched two crosses and the word "CHOLERA" into the wet concrete. Sparrows have since made a nest in the body and a badger has excavated a home under the concrete footing. The graves are just to the east of the sculpture.
When I go back to S.D. people come up and say "what did you do that for?" I am sure that no one outside my family knows the reason why, except you.