tsatsas(& the art of improvised pilgrimage)        
sewanee, tn, october-november, 2011

November 22nd, 2011: Further Adventures on the Perimeter Trail

Last week, Linda Heck returned six tsatsas to me, explaining that the holidays & the present flavor of life in general were making participation in the Tsatsa Easter Bunny Corps impossible. In doing so, she told me at least two stories of placement ideas that would have been fantastic, so I hereby declare Linda to be a Tsatsa Theoretician Extraordinaire, and thank her for her honesty.

Timothy and I went on a walk to Elliot Point on Sunday to check on the tsatsa he found there (thanks to Stephen Alvarez) and re-placed. We made a few placements along the way.

photographs by Julie Püttgen
  Placement 1: in a mini-cave with wasp-nest residues on the way to Elliot Point. On the right: Timothy Rosenkoetter executes some styling moves near the newly-placed tsatsa.
photographs by Julie Püttgen
Placement 2 (temporary because rain was on the way): inside a perfect round knot on the way from Elliot Point back towards the fire road & Gate 14.
photographs by Julie Püttgen
Placement 3: Wriggling a tsatsa into a slot near the base of an oak: first sideways, then back, then into the dark, dry space. I am hoping not to have inconvenienced any squirrels in this way. Still on the way from Elliot Point back towards the fire road & Gate 14

December 2nd, 2011: Back to Old Farm Road

With only a little more than two weeks left before leaving Sewanee for good, I'm still tsatsa-placing, and reconnecting with old places. For the first five years of my life here, I lived in a little house on Old Farm Road, which had been Ward and Frances Goodman's. It was where Frances was born (in what is now the living room), and where they raised their children. Long after they'd moved down to the valley, where Frances could get better medical care, Ward would come by to take care of the dogwoods and the frail impatients, and to feel the influence of that beloved spot. I've only got a fraction of his deep associations with Old Farm Road, but I know some of what he must feel. It IS peaceful there, especially on a sunny morning in December. I remember the first Fall I was in the house, seeing people come by to collect buckeyes from the big old tree across the street, a pilgrimage yielding smooth round Sewanee relics to pocket for the rest of the year. The tree is gone (rotted at the root), and the house now stands empty, but the shingled post-and-beam garden pavillion with birds on its weathervane is still there, harboring ancient & more recent farm equipment. Obviously a tsatsa spot.

photographs by Julie Püttgen

December 11th, 2011: Paul O'Mara Joins the Pilgrimage

Last week, Paul O'Mara, father of Kelly O'Mara (& Sewanee photographer extraordinaire) came to visit my last painting class at Sewanee. I gave him one of the last tsatsas, and today he sent me this:


photographs by Paul O'Mara

The Tsatsa I received from Julie is on the patio behind room #5 at the Sewanee Inn. The Inn feels like my Sewanee home when I visit. And yes, that was me at 6:45am Saturday morning getting email in the Inn parking lot.

photographs by Paul O'Mara

Tsatsa #74 has departed the Mountain, but not before a stop at the Domain Gate. The now wandering #74 has traveled across Sand and Lookout Mountains and is taking a rest in Rome, Ga.

Sewanee Pilgrimage project pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12