Friday, March 28, 2008
My brother and I came upon this mother lode of gourds in the middle of Levy County, Florida, piled high at Fern Sink Farm. There was no one around so we selected six gourds between us, and left a ten dollar bill under a rock in the garage next door.
This is really the best way of procuring gourds from the earth. Grab them and toss money in the general direction of the gourd farmer. He doesn't want to know which gourds I took, nor do I want him to know. That is between me and the gourds.
Gourds fragments in human context have been found in Gainesville, FL as early as 11000 BC. The earliest known bottle gourd comes from the Windover site, dated to roughly 5300 BC. We can thank the swamps for this level of preservation.
Gourds make great ladles, containers, and percussion instruments, and are steeped in some crazy kind of mythos that I can only call an intense "presence." They navigate between consensual reality and the otherworld that we glimpse sometimes in dreams and visions. They're good luck, in other words.
I endorse gourd art for curing malaise of the soul.