Friday, September 25, 2009

The Books and Blown-Up Bridge of Franco-Vermont: Chimney Point

Welcome to the History Books!

Just as I'd like to welcome you all to Chimney Point, VT and this lovely and interesting book-locale, I'd also like to welcome you to a new point in this blog's historical value: we've now entered a period of documenting something that no longer exists, in the discussion and photography of this itinerant bibliotourist. Let me explain: when I visited the Chimney-Point museum and visitor's center last August, I photographed the sign and path leading up to the museum. I'd just driven from the west, from New York State, over the Crown Point Bridge (aka the Champlain Bridge), which connected Crown Point, NY with Chimney Point, VT. The bridge can be seen in my first photo above, to the very right, as well as in the following wikipedia article about it:

I had noticed when driving across the very narrow and very high bridge, that it had become a one lane bridge, and that the other lanes were closed. Four months later, that is this past December, it was announced that repairs to the bridge were too costly, and that the bridge would have to be demolished! Who knew that I was in harm's way, just to find that book-in-culture opportunity!!? Well, on December 28th, just more than a week ago, they imploded that old bridge. The first link below shows a rather dull video of underwater cracks in the base of the bridge. And for the pyrophilics in the audience, you can view this display on the following link:

Underwater video of cracks in the base:


The video commentator tells us that an Idaho based demolition group used ~800 lbs. of explosives for the job, and my inside sources have reported that the group worked tirelessly through fog (seen on video!) and very cold temperatures to get this done by the appointed date and time.

Well, I suppose we can go back to last summer, when all of this was still a future unknown, and the trees still held tight to their green leaves, and the grass was lush, and the fragrant scents of farmer'ly Vermont were entertaining my bibliotouristic nostrils. Yes, it was a fine trip, which yielded many delights to the human senses of sight, sound, hearing, and scent. The next photo is a nearer shot of the Chimney Point visitor's center and museum. It was decorated with the fleur de lis of French design, appeal, and history, hanging from the wrap-around porch. Flowerpots held varieties of blooms, which matched the colors of the house and surrounding buildings. All around, it was a palette of good design and tastefulness, which was a mark of the general comfort and hospitality of Vermont. The tourist center hostess was very nice, and asked if I needed any sort of help, direction, or guidance. It was just the right amount of hospitality interaction, a little more than a midwestern smile and stopping short of Latter Day Saint missionary friendliness. The woman showed me some maps of Vermont and told me about the museum and the 400th Anniversary of Champlain's voyage. Of course, when she left me to my devices, I toured the little book shop and snapped a few photos for you kind readers, especially the specific classifications of "Franco-Vermont" and "General Vermont," as well as material on "Native Americans." It was a good little book shop, which I enjoyed finding and exploring.

Such as it were, the stately little museum-bookshop home of Chimney Point, now in the annals of explosives history. At least by association. This was in some respects accidental, this find. But that's how many of my bibliotours are: accidental finds. I cannot promise that I'll be taking photos or commenting on other "soon to be demolished" locales, but perhaps there may be some value in documenting a few such places. In a few more weeks, I'll be featuring a Chicago Coffee shop called Mercury Cafe, which had its own fairly sizable lending library, with its own classification system! The value of this article, moderately similar to today's piece, will be that the Mercury Cafe no longer exists, going under with the economic downturn. So, a quiet but active passion for bibliotours may just keep a simple record of something for the unknown future, in our untamed present, and almost (or sometimes thought to be) lost past. It's always good to see that other results or benefits can come from simple dedication to one's interests, even if it's seen as a lazy habit of hunting for old books in old places.

Pencils, Pulp, and Paper at Ticonderoga

A Detour in Pencil and Paper Country

I never really thought about where pencils came from. It's not as pressing as, say, the question a five year old asks his or her parents: "Mommy, Daddy, where did I come from?" To which the red-faced parents must come up with a quick response; or, if they are not red-faced, simply tell a fable about seeds or storks or special deliveries from a land far away. No, I never asked my parents "Mommy, Daddy, where do pencils come from?" I'm afraid the answer would have been a bit duller: "well, a little lead seed was planted in a pot of wood chips...and it grew into a pencil." And I'm afraid no child would believe that a stork was flying around some nimbus clouds with a satchel full of "Number 2s". Anyhow, what was ever up with the "Number 2" pencil? I understand there's some softness factor of the lead inside related to the "Number," but it seems so oppressive that we were beholden to that for a dozen years (or more) of primary and secondary education, like prisoners in a penciled Gulag!

So, they have to come from somewhere. And whether or not the "Number 2" was a product of the Ticonderoga folks, or was simply dictated by a secret board or society of educators and principals long ago, in a dark, smokey poker and rum parlor, is left for us to speculate about. Yet here we have a fairly intriguing stop on our consummate bibliotour: the erstwhile center of American paper and pencil making. This little museum was just off the beaten track and not even on the road I was supposed to take to my final destination. But I was intrigued by the town of Ticonderoga itself and, thus drove around the village area, which wasn't under any spell of prosperity, but seemed to suffer the fate of a geriatric mill town. Nonetheless, the fame and curiosity of its historical pencil and paper works have buttressed the tourist economy to some degree. And it was my visit to this fine museum, which proved that something must be working right in their economy!

I won't drown or even douse you with details, as you can see from the images inside the museum far more information than I need to relate. But what you can see is that this was a significant industrial powerhouse in terms of pulp and pencil production. At left you can see the display of the Clayton P. Delano Pulp Mill. Interestingly, in other research I have located "Clayton H. Delano"--note the middle initial difference. But it is not clear whether this is the same person or simply an error on some level. Now, this Delano guy was "the" local industrialist for a long period of this area's history. It is unclear to me at this time, what if any relationship Mr. Delano had with the former US president FDR. Curiously, FDR's two family names are corruptions of early American settlers, colonialists, religious refugees: first Delano, a name I thought was somehow remotely (perhaps) Italian, is actually a corruption of "de la Noye" and is first found on American shores in the person of Philippe de la Noye--the first Huguenot to land on these shores ca. 1621. The second, more famous name "Roosevelt" is from a corruption of the Dutch name "Van Rosenvelt." Needless to say, one might wonder or speculate the chances of FDR's election successes 75 years ago, if he were "Franklin de la Noye van Rosenvelt?" Sounds like the Barack Hussein Obama of 1933!

Here now are a few more images from the museum. This quote of Harvey Yaw on the left strikes me as some lyrical phrase from a 1920s song "If Mobile wanted a papermakkkkkkker!" and just add a little trumpet and swag to that and you've got yourself a perfect Jazz Age piece. Other images below include a display of various colored papers, a workman's desk, and a kitchen and lab for kids (and other visitors) to make paper themselves.

It is rather interesting to see how pencils used to look. Since beginning this posting, I've discovered a bit more of the penciled history, specifically regarding the so-called numbering system. You see, the general characteristics of a pencil's capabilities are based on the "H" and "B" factors, which is why you may often see an "HB" pencil. H = hardness and B = blackness.

The scale appears to range from 9H (the hardest) to 9B (the blackest/softest), with a whole range of H-F-HB-B in the middle. I won't go into the alchemical details of this, for I'm not qualified to do so. But the history and classification does not just stop there. Some scholars have identified the famed yellow color of the pencil with a pencil maker in Austro-Hungary in the 1890s, who may have taken the color from the Austro-Hungarian flag of that time. And the rest, well, may be history.

This is a fine map of Ticonderoga, which looks like it was actually done in pencil. These maps are fairly common in late 19th century America, the so-called "bird's-eye-view," which portrayed just that. And their popularity seems to have increased significantly in the 1870s and 1880s with Orientalist travelers visiting the Holy Land and elsewhere and creating "scenes from the Bible" maps, with the same techniques used in this image of penciled Ticonderoga.

What is a curious thought is how people have utilized the pencil professionally. And not just for drawing maps, but for writers, say...of books like these in the gift and book shop (ah, remember the formula of historic importance: gift and bookshop = really historic!) But back to the point: it is a hard thought to imagine, but how many writers today write with pencils? Very few presumably, yet in the olden days, men like John Steinbeck and Vladimir Nabokov wrote tirelessly with hundreds of pencils. In fact, Nabokov apparently wouldn't use anything else! And Steinbeck is said to have used nearly three hundred pencils on East of Eden alone!

Don't forget that some of the best places of history and book-tourism are in the little, out of the way locations, where history happened sometimes gradually and quietly, but happened nonetheless. So, if you're one who doesn't suffer pulp and paper gladly, or you are addicted to the entrapments of e-texts and the digital cosmos, just remember that there is a whole history of our world, that you and your primary and secondary education were part of, nestled away in a corner of rural upstate New York. Don't blunt that end of your Austro-Hungarian yellow or erase this memory too quickly, or else the Number 2s of the world may unite!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Books and Bottles in Ballston Spa

Message in a Bottle or the Study of Something

Pairing books with places is like pairing cheese with wine: there are plenty of varieties of books and innumerable locations to find books. The difference is that not every wine goes well with every cheese. But pretty much any book can be found anywhere, and fit to a greater or lesser degree. Okay, admittedly, this is not the best analogy, but like the pairing of the sommelier or affineur, the task of finding the curiosities of our societies and locating the books in them can and will heighten the experience one has, and bring out a flavor in each particular object, just like the heightened flavor of a bodied wine with birch and blueberries or the textured smoothness of a camembert acting off that intrusive Shiraz. And so, yet another intriguing trip has brought me to the likes of this fine establishment: the National Bottle Museum.

I am one to think and believe that books are, effectively, everywhere. From libraries to dumpsters and every place in between. And so, when I come upon a place that is a designated library, museum, or all-out oddity, I am inclined to think that they must have a vested interest in the specialization of that place and, therefore books about that specialization. Now, the National Bottle Museum has been on my radar for some time, but I had never had the chance to actually go and check the place out. But this summer, I did, and I was pleasantly delighted in its exposition of the historical, the unique, the quaint, and the bizarre. It is, in fact, a great example of how the study of one subject or topic, like glass, can really tell a full bodied story of cultural and social history. I have yet to discover what the technical name of "the study of glass" is--glassology sounds too rudimentary, too...English; gualogy, potairology, ualogy, katoptology, and phakology, all made up words of my doing, come from one root or another from Greek words relating to glass; but my preferred is likely "vetriology," from the Italian word for glass. It just seems to flow quite nicely, and of course has that believability factor that you might want to pass off at the occasional cocktail or holiday party: "oh, yes, I study vetriology...have you heard of it?" Wink, wink.

Of course, though, I made the assumption that all bottles were glass, and made that lovely quantum leap! As you can see from these photos, clearly, that assumption just might be true. So, our search would then be for a study of "bottles" instead of "glass." And in that case, I would vote for returning to the Greeks and concocting (if it hasn't brewed in some ancient's or early modern's mind) the term "vialology," as in the study of vials or bottles. This mustn't be confused at all with "viatology," which is the study of roads. That's a nice word to know too. The study of "ologies" or "Ologyology" (another of my ludicrous neologisms) is less a study than a curiosity and odd interest that I have. It is rather exciting on a certain level to recognize that almost everything has a descriptive term attached to it, and by learning what the study of something is, it helps you to recognize not just an object's latinized roots, but how it relates to other objects in the cosmos. Vexillology anyone? (The study of flags).

Now take this display: artistically, it holds one place in our minds and in value; historically, yet another. And it is this historical aspect that grants the study of bottles in outhouses a very special place in historiographic narratives: so do not ever dismiss the next Vetriprivyologist that comes knocking at your door! In all seriousness, though, despite whatever these glass archeologists are called, they do play an important role in helping us understand our own cultural and social histories. At this point, I ought to recommend (indeed, highly) the main journal for glass studies, aptly called "Journal of Glass Studies," which is published by the Corning Museum of Glass annually. It is a serious and very detailed journal dealing with all (or at least most) aspects of "glassery," its history, sociology, and design, among other things. Here is a link to their website:

Surely, before I continue, I ought to send you the link to this interesting museum itself, in the event that any one of you out there is interested in visiting this illustrious place.

One of the most charming aspects of the Bottle Museum is that it is housed in an old storefront in a little town in upstate New York. It has the flavor of old industrial country, with a twist of 19th century apothecary and 1920s soda shop, all whipped into one. But the addition of such magnificent and quirky bottles, such as this collection of "George Washingtoniana," makes one gawk in surprise, delight, or amazement.

Other intrigues include these glassware objects, which I'm not quite sure qualify as "bottles," but are pieces of glass made for more decorative purposes. They look like pipes, but I don't believe that was their use (I don't think chemistry allows for pipes made of glass! But I could be wrong). In fact, I must admit, I don't recall what the well-informed and highly knowledgeable guide told me, as he was speaking much too fast for me to follow. But he knew his glass! Below are bottles in the shape of violins and other stringed instruments.

Now the books! The key pieces in this collection, which were on display were an old pharmaceutical ledger book and a medical text.

Above is a display of medical and other style bottles. And below is the very thing I came to find: the library! It continues to amaze me that there are such fabulous micro-libraries in these specialty museums. But perhaps it should rather fascinate me, since it is only sensible that there would be some sort of informational center or reference collection associated with one's passion, whether maritime or "bottlesque."

The two images below are displays on the historical aspects of "the bottle" in the United States, including not just the bottles themselves, but the tools that were used to make the bottles.

Returning to the micro-library, we find several magazines about bottles and glass, as well as the illustrious reference collection.

Now for those of you who suspect the bottle industry to have been a dull pursuit, something not worth your time to explore, read about, or even blink at, consider the oddities and curiosities of the 19th century, which populate this fine museum. There is some fugitive connection between bottles and the medical arts of that epoch: perhaps the symbol of the local apothecary or sorcerer of alchemical arts. Let's take this thanatological image of skulls and bottles, embodied in some page of an old book, settled neatly behind the ceramic bust of a phrenological sphere. It does not get any more folk-remedyish than this, and yet there are those who still ply its wares and fall into the extracts of garden variety herbals--maybe thinking that parsley can cure migraines ("rub here, left side, above ear...three times a day, when cloudy").

But, let us be clear: stay far away from anything that shares a resemblance with "Aunt Hannah's Liquid Death." You see, no matter how hard we try to establish some sense of composure and professionalism, no matter how hard we try to maintain a website that hopes to introduce readers to the wide world of bibliotourism and biblioflaneury, there is no doubt that we will come into the realm of not just the "curious," the "comical," and the "odd," but the all-out bizarre and heretical.

So here is to that poor, long-expired and withered soul, whose name was used to sell "Liquid Death." Even if it were for bugs, poor dear old Aunt Hannah's mellifluous liquid of doom (sold by most grocers and druggists!) is a gruesome sign of a past: one that doesn't seem to be found in either book or bottle today.

The Books and Library of Mt. Saint Alphonsus: A Quiet Good-Bye

Remembrance of Things Past

There is something both striking and awe inspiring in the architectural splendors of prewar Catholic architecture, which humbles the viewer, participant seeker, and regular flaneur. By "prewar," I mean anything before the Second World War. And the magnificently palatial glory of the Mount Saint Alphonsus retreat house is no exception. It had been a seminary for some time, but those days dwindled into all too few and unsustainable numbers, that it no longer exists. The seminary closed in 1985 and students were then sent to Washington, D.C. to continue their studies. Built and dedicated 101 years ago by the Redemptorists, seminarians were trained in these rooms and hallways (some of which are longer than a football field!). It was a self-sufficient community, which (according to the website) produced even their own wine on the property (though it is not clear if they grew the grapes on the property or just made the wine!) The colossal structure is a formidable sight, which you may view in the last photo of this blog and/or at the Mt. Saint Alphonsus website provided here:

I recently declared (of course, tongue-in-cheek) that the real mark of history was determined by whether or not an historical locale had a "book" shop or "gift" shop to mark its historicity. Well, surely then, Mt. Saint Alphonsus would be a great historical winner, because it has both! As you can see above in the first photo, when I entered the side of the 100+ room castle, there was a "gift and book shop." It had closed just minutes before I arrived, but I knocked anyway, because I'd glimpsed a subtle light emitting its glow from an interior office behind the shop. A woman came out and I introduced myself and we had a pleasant exchange for about ten minutes. I'd told her about my interest in Mt. Saint Alphonsus (MSA, from now on), and asked her about the history, seminary, library (of course!), and present residents. The truth is that this was not my first visit to MSA, but a return trip to a place I'd visited many years ago. And I'd wanted for some time to recapture a bit of that past with a visit in recent years. It was only on this rainy afternoon in August that I'd managed to steal away and find myself in the town of Esopus, NY, right near the MSA estate. (Note: the photo above was taken of an image hanging in the hallways of MSA; and below, of presumably, the namesake of the institution).

Sixteen years ago, I was a fresh little collegiate sprout, finding my way around the world of St. Lawrence University. I'd recently been an avid reader and fan of Thomas Merton, the Buddhaphilic monastic, who wrote like a spiritual beat poet, holed himself up in a rural Kentucky monastery called the Abbey of Gethsemane, and eventually died of accidental electrocution in a bathtub. His autobiography about his early life, the famed Seven Storey Mountain, gave a characteristically romantic (though not completely) portrait of the monastic life. It was, though, enough to seduce me into searching for answers about this idea of monasticism and priesthood. Considering my childhood interests in religiosity and liturgical music, it came as a simple sequence of events. If I had the time these days, I'd still be listening to LPs of E. Power Biggs or Albert Schweitzer playing Bach! But I was just a novice collegian at St. Lawrence, thrown into first year projects. One of them had been a study of a cultural group in society, and I had decided to study "monks and monasticism."

I had known about some monastic communities in the Hudson River Valley, and when I had returned home for a break from St. Lawrence, I drove down to a couple of them. The first was the Episcopal Benedictine Holy Cross Monastery, not far from MSA. It was a delightful place, though rather active, where the monks wore heavy brown garb, shared meals, directed Elder Hostels, prayed, drove a Lexus, and went to movies (I think the fellows were off to watch Schindler's List at the time). Holy Cross apparently was, as the locals note, the rendezvous site of former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey and his lover. Of course, this was a more recent event in history. And an interesting footnote to monastic living! Still, one might see that as a young college student in the early 1990s, my perception of monasticism was beginning to be shattered by the idea of temporal and earthly enjoyment being had in these sacred halls. It wasn't quite what I had imagined from reading Merton. Nonetheless, after hearing about the monastic Lexus, I went on to MSA. There I met a Father Brinkmann, whom I interviewed about monasticism and Gregorian chant.

Father Brinkmann, if my faded memory serves me right, studied music and organ playing at Boston University, and had agreed to speak to me about my project. Then, as now, I came across the same accoutrements of MSA: the open liturgical tomes, grandfather clocks, and busts of the thorn-crowned Jesus. On my most recent visit this summer, it was exceedingly dark inside, the hallways being almost difficult to navigate it was so unlit! But nearly two decades ago, I remember waiting in these hallways for my meeting with Father Brinkmann. There was a very old priest, bent nigh to the ground in his antiquity, and skinny as a pole, walking the halls in silence. I went up to the library to wait and look around. It was, as I recall, one of the most startlingly magnificent libraries I'd ever been in. It was one big room, a whole wing of the fortress, with multi-tiered balconies of shelves jutting out, and ornate banisters carved into curved staircases. It was truly remarkable. And the books themselves were ancient tomes peeling into rust and blood colored dust.

Of course, I eventually had my meeting with Father Brinkmann, and he was very accommodating and generous with his time and knowledge of monastic living. A good old fashioned priest, devoted to his vocation, his order, his music, and of course, MSA. So, upon returning to MSA this summer, and wandering around the cavernous hallways, I was struck by the grandeur that still remained here. By the open liturgical books, breviaries, or Bibles that seemed to situate themselves in the most inviting and auspicious locations around the premises of MSA. When I inquired at the Book Shop about Father Brinkmann, the woman told me that he was around sometime, but that she wasn't sure where he was or what his hours were, or even if he would be on the MSA site that rainy afternoon. Though, later, as I was walking through the halls, I met up with another old gentleman, who was a priest visiting from the Boston area, and was on retreat at MSA. He told me that Father Brinkmann would in fact be there that very evening, as they were to share a meal together in just a few hours.

I never did find the good Father; nor did I really have the time to wait around and see if I could glimpse an apparition of him at the feeding grounds, which I'm sure would have been a pleasant event--I've always been a fan of communal meals and the understanding of the roots of words like "companion" (lit. one whom you "eat bread with" = cum + panis) and "symposium" (one whom you "drink with" = syn + ponen in Greek). Nonetheless, I could only dream about a sumptuous meal this afternoon. The rain pittered and pattered as the clouds rolled from the mountains west of New Paltz (the famed "Gunks") over the rivulets, hills, and folds in the earth, above MSA and across the Hudson heading toward Massachusetts. I continued wandering about, finding more books, statues, and nooks in this massive building.

Above, you will see, a sign for a Reading Room, which I discovered. They surely love their reading! What is interesting is that at a retreat center like MSA, there is so much space for contemplation AND reading. For if you wished to do a study on this idea of reflection and thought, there would surely be a question of what the role of reading is or plays into our understanding of contemplation. But it was clear from this sojourn, that there are plenty of places to find peace, quiet, and a little comfort in reading and resting. Outside of the building, outside of the reading room, you can see the fine grounds of the MSA estate: balconies, porches, manicured lawns, oak and maple trees, and piney bushes that are topiary-style gems that make the place look like you're in the Pamphilij Gardens in Rome. Perhaps that is what they had in mind!

Reflecting on the Library

The saddest moment of my visit this summer was when I asked the woman in the book shop about the library. She replied quite frankly, saying: "Oh, they got rid of the library. They packed it up and shipped it off to Africa." Now whatever the merits or truth of that statement were, it was bittersweet. Partly, because of the idea of dismantling any library to me is a shocking disruption to my bibliophilic soul; the idea of breaking down the cultured history of a library is, to me, a hamartiological rupture, but then too, it seems like a necessary evil and unfortunate result of time. On the upside, the "sweet" end of this situation, is the fact that the library, once a jewel of the MSA seminary, was being redistributed to those needy seminarians and theological students in Africa, or wherever these books would eventually wend their ways to. The library was closed. But it was not boarded up, as the good woman in the book shop had suggested. She'd also said that one of the priests had done substantial work on the library before redistributing it. And it turns out that Father Brinkmann may have been one of, if not the individual responsible for the safekeeping of this project. As you can see from this photo, it was dark. The lights were off, but the skeletal image of dark and light contrast to present an impressive structure. Admittedly, it didn't look exactly like what my fading memory had preserved from 16 years before. It seemed a bit too modern. I remembered something more wooden, carved, and out of another era. Perhaps they did some renovations? But more likely, the only renovations were in my slightly abnormal memory!

Sindonology: A Study for Everything!

Leaving the best for last, I must retreat into the epical and comical limits of theological preservation: I could not help but laugh a good chuckle, while desiring such a piece of branded Roman Catholicity and non-liturgically touristic hardware when I saw this. That's right: a replica of the Vatican and St. Peter's in Rome! What a delight! It sat there, quiet, squarely, behaving its own business, until I walked up and gave it a glare. "Awwh, poor thing! It needs a home!" But then I realized, it was home. It was among its friends and visitors. As you read your book of Psalms, or paused to reflect about your station in the world, or about the tasks of Catholic preservation in post-modern society, you will be reminded of many things by this constant window sill companion: Rome, the Church, the Pope (whom I recently was told is affectionately called "B-16"--like an illustrious doctrinal super-bomber with a 24,000 mile flight radius), and the Christian Cosmos. For all you BMV aficionados, this would be a perfect time for your rosary and an Ave Maria.

Of course, none of this would be complete--the visit, the contemplation, the whole world of bibliotourist wonder!--without the subtle discovery of something quite miraculous. You see, after departing from MSA, from the entombing darkness of the hallways, from the mystical glow of the golden chapel, I went on my way, driving past the magnificent facade of this regal old seminary turned retreat house. You can see the pines standing as sentinels out front. Not long after, I did a little research on MSA, as I wanted also to contact the good Father Brinkmann. To my great surprise and delight, I discovered that the good Father was one of the preeminent scholars of "Sindonology." Sindonology, a term I had never heard, is the real "study of the Shroud of Turin," coming from the Italian word for shroud, sindone. I will post a link below to the official Sindonology website. It is a very interesting enterprise, no doubt. It is, in some ways metaphorical, as I am now coming to see this whole experience, that the image of the old MSA library, for which I had a distinct memory and understanding, was different when I saw it in person this summer: it was radiant, yet old and majestic in my mind, but had become a less romantic ideal in person, turned into a shredded memory, an actual black and white image, a portrait of what once was. What once was...was a body of knowledge, a body of Christian thinking and a portrait of a message that is still important to a body of people that makes up more than 1/6 of the earth's population. So too, the sindonological event of a mysterious cloth, black and white, decaying under time's duress, conveys an image and effect that is more important than the earthly degradation of ancient fibers.

Whatever the metaphor, the image, the symbol, remember that beyond the surface there will always be something else, something different, and usually more profound. And usually it is a message.