The Wood Demon of Woods Run

Sculpture carved from tree trunk, Pittsburgh, PA

The Wood Demon of Woods Run

This blogger wasn’t looking for trouble, but trouble sure found him. Everyone knows blogging is dangerous work–just look at the language: deadlines, obitsgraveyards, “kill it.” Was it Ben Franklin or Jim Morrison who said “No one here gets out alive–so pay your taxes!”? Does it really matter? Whoever uttered those prescient words was talking about The Art of the Blog™…and it is a dark art indeed. We know all this going in, but rarely does the ne’er-do-well blogger literally come face-to-face with his demon(s).

Cloudless deep blues skies, sixty-ish degrees, a gorgeous Sunday with no obligations. Yes: God was telling us to go “reporting.” And so, on trusty steed to the North Side we did ride to follow-up on yet another golden baby tip [keep them coming!] and then on to check out the various Pop des Fleurs locations nearby [more about that soon…probably]. We continued–through the Mexican Wars Streets, Manchester, and then up Woods Run Avenue. It was a chance turn of the head–a mere tourner of the tête, a giro of the cabeza, if you will–that sealed our fate. Out of nowhere, a startled bewilderment that the scrubby, gnarled leaf-bare hillside revealed a face in the wood, staring back.

Sculpture carved from tree trunk, Pittsburgh, PA

It is a curious spirit, to be sure. Hewn from the remaining trunk of a felled medium-size tree, the figure rests maybe ten or fifteen feet back from the road and stands roughly five feet tall. It’s canted at an awkward angle. The Wood Demon’s face has the gouged triangular eyes and orthodontists’ paradise gap-toothed sadistic grin of a Hallowe’en jack-o-lantern. The nostrils appear to be sculpted by the not-too-delicate incision of a chainsaw. Eyes have been formed with a pair of rubber balls, hammered in place with what look like knitting needles. [Don’t mess with those crafters!] On his head is a jagged crown.

Whether The Wood Demon is watching over sacred land, is out guarding the fine citizens of Woods Run, or just wants to haunt wayward bloggers is unclear. Perhaps he’s just here to reinforce the late fees at the nearby Carnegie Library branch, a hundred yards down the road. [Music is just a one-week checkout! The Wood Demon grants no grace period!] Whatever he’s doing, we’re glad The Wood Demon is here, watching.

Sculpture carved from tree trunk, Pittsburgh, PA

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