Art Drop Off 5-13-20

This chilly morning found my husband and me on a familiar path – the Pennypack Rail Trail. With tile in hand, we set off from the Byberry Road parking lot.

I took this tile with us:

Clay Bird Tile 1 3-20 4x4001

and I set it on the rocks here, near the curve where a train wreck with 28 fatalities occurred 99 years ago this December, but is today the site of a small memorial and otherwise unknown by the many people who travel up and down this quiet wooded trail every day.

My husband looks on from the right side of the trail, and bicyclists appear in the distance. The earth turns. Life goes on.

This tile is the last of the set of 23 I made back in March, with the idea of marking an ending and a beginning – of what, I am not sure. I only know that I felt the impulse to do so. I am at the start of my 7th decade of life and never have I felt such a sense of demarcation, of transition, of the unknown.

We have been on shutdown in my area since March 13, and we are hoping for an amendment in circumstances in June. During this time I have come to understand that things will not return to “normal”, and that I must figure out the new ways.

So with this tile, I mark this point. Not to an end of fear, or worry, or distress, for myself and for everyone in this world. But maybe for a beginning of hope, devising solutions, working to make things better, whatever small part of this I can do.

I will keep putting art out in the world, that small thing, I know I can do. I enjoy it and I think other people do too.

Until the next time.


Here’s the whole array, and here is a post I did on my art blog about the creation of these tiles.

About Claudia McGill

A person who does art and writes poetry. That's me!

15 responses to “Art Drop Off 5-13-20

  1. A spiritual journey. Continued …

    • Yes. When I think of March, 2020, I see it as going down a hallway and making a 90 degree right turn into a new hallway that goes away from where I was heading before. This is helping me remember how to think these days. I am not going where I was going, if you know what I mean.

  2. This is a wonderful thing to do. I enjoyed the read. Greetings from London.

  3. Diane

    I think you have nicely summed up the sentiments of many.

    • Thank you. I feel as if it is like we were walking down a hall and then we take a turn of 90 degrees to the right and now we’ve got a new destination. Got to get focused on that and not trying to turn around. It seems to me the faster I get this in my head, the better it will be.

  4. Wonderful gifts for the world. (K)

    • I feel I have completed the first chapter of our new book that we are writing, with this tile. Now I will take the next steps. The tiles helped in a lot of ways.

  5. I think you have saved the best for last. I love everything about this wee tile. I love that in these times of stress, uncertainty, and elevated anxiety you are sending out these acts of cheer and surprise as gifts into the world.

    • Thank you. I like this tile a lot, too, I think that is why I held on to it for the last one. I hope people have enjoyed them. I feel with this one I have reached the end of the very beginning of our new ways. Now for what comes next? Who knows. I am now planning to work down my general inventory of tiles as art drop-offs. My shows are cancelled and I do not want them to languish here – because I do not know if I will be doing more shows, something I am thinking about. Anyway, if I do, I can make new ones. I feel the need to let go of the past artwork. I am hoping to do some modest stepping up of my park adventures, trying different places. Good way to say thank you, I think, leaving a tile.

  6. First before I forget, I want to say that the bird in the tile looks very determined and like he/she has somewhere to be! Wow that sounds like a terrible train wreck all those years ago! So admire your generosity for all those art drop offs and I imagine the happy people that stumble upon them. I appreciate your musings at the end of this post. I forget it has been since mid-March. It is all so surreal.

    • Yes. Surreal is exactly it. As for the train wreck, I’ve written about it in earlier posts – the memorial sign caught my attention. I was amazed at how similar the location looks 100 years later.

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