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Pagosa Mountain Hospital’s trees transformed

Artist Chad Haspels’ “Healing Waters of Pagosa” has begun its emergence from the fallen wood chips just outside of the Pagosa Mountain Hospital’s South Pagosa Boulevard main entrance. Two of the trees are now completed. Don’t wait too long or Haspels will be done before you know it!

 Two sculptures have now taken their shape through the masterful hands of Haspels — one a life-size bear holding a fish in his mouth, twisting around for a gaze behind him, the other a free-form design representing the healing waters. At the top of the free-form sculpture, completed first by Haspels, sits a stylized life-size eagle soaring on its wing. The eagle’s lower wing gracefully flows into the organic curves below. Look closely at this sculpture, there is a school of fish hiding amongst the rippling waters below.

 On behalf of the Pagosa Mountain Hospital, I give my sincerest thanks to the very generous donors who made the first two tree carvings happen: the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation, Pamela Hamilton and Steve Levy, G.M. and Julene Campbell, Don and Paula Ford, Jim Knoll, Robert E. McCormack, Ron and Cindy Gustafson, Dale and Jeanine Malaney, Bob Howard, Richard Shildt, Jim Stacy, Marilyn Copley, Mark Floyd, Chuck Gordon, Truett Forest and Betsy Cotton.

 There is only one tree left to carve, the tree closest to the main entrance, and the hospital and Haspels still needs your support to make this last carving come to life. We’re only $1,500 away from our goal. The third tree to be carved as part of this project will represent a stylized figure holding a vessel of pouring water. The figure will face the main entryway.

 To facilitate raising these needed funds, the Pagosa Springs Arts Council will donate their 30-percent commission from any further sales of Haspels’ work in his co-exhibit, “Balance and Chaos in Nature: Drawing on the Essence of Our World,” with world-renowned pastel artist Lorraine Trenholm, running through Aug. 18 at the PSAC Town Park Gallery. Visit our gallery at 315 Hermosa St., Tuesday through Sunday between noon and 4 p.m. Haspels’ warm, natural wood sculptures and Trenholm’s luscious, softly-colored pastels are a true delight for the senses.

Each of the  Haspels sculptures in this exhibit were created from a single Ponderosa Pine that was cut down and abandoned at a ranch on the edge of the San Juan Mountains in the mid 1930s. Typically, a Ponderosa Pine left laying in the elements will decay and return to the earth over the succeeding years. This tree, with a high amount of pitch as its defense, retained  a large percentage of solid wood after over 70 years. The weathering along the circumference created ridges and valleys as evidence of the resilience of the tree. A portion of the original hand sawn marks can be seen on the flat gray section of “Peregrines of Chimney Rock.”

If you share our vision and want to be instrumental in making a difference in Pagosa Springs, please donate to the Pagosa Mountain Hospital Tree Carving Project. Any donation amount is welcome — small, medium or large. To make your donation, mail or bring your check payable to the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation, Attn. Kelly Johnson, Administrative Coordinator, 95 South Pagosa Boulevard, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Be sure to include a note on the memo line of your check indicating how the funds are to be used, i.e., “For Hospital Tree Carving Project.”

 Help us Change for Pagosa!