Coopers Rocks State Forest

This past June we visited Coopers Rocks State Forest near Morgantown, West Virginia. Maison Orion partner Tallulah West had been there several times before. But for me (Scott M B Gustafson) it was my first visit.

I'm a terrible hiker because I take too many photographs. They are records that are easy to share, and help me to recall the feelings I experienced while in the moment. What I saw in the forest was a whole range of architectural techniques employed by nature.

Mass & Void

Light & Shadow






What impressed me most about our hike was walking around, between and underneath gigantic boulders. The space created by geologic fissures reminded me of experiences in the artworks of Richard Serra and the buildings of Frank Gehry. The difference is that these rocks, let loose from their ancient repose, would crush me in an instant without mercy. A friend of mine was recently telling me about the Sublime in art. It is beauty that inspires admiration and awe. When one recognizes the gap between their own power and that of nature's forces - the response is awe. That these rocks rest with such grace further enlarges their persuasiveness - they don't need to show off and they know it.

When I lived in Los Angeles, I would often visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Michael Heizer's artwork Levitated Mass pompously sits over a manmade walkway cut into the earth. It might be the single most Instagrammed rock and quite popular with visitors, but it is a spectacle that does not frighten for even an instant. As Marvin Gaye said, "Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby."