They took down the gallows in the park today.

In some ways, that's too bad.

Sculptor Sam Durant's 2012 wood and steel installation Scaffold had been acquired by the Walker Museum for its newly-renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Intended as a commentary on racial inequities in capital punishment throughout American history, it sparked protests among traditional Dakota, who found it offensive.

So they took it down.

The entire mishandled situation has been, frankly, a tragedy of errors from beginning to end, starting with the fact that the sculpture garden has long been known locally for—how shall I put this charitably—its “content-free” nature. What the Walker was thinking by plunking down something with actual serious content into the midst of its half-acre of vacuity, like some farmhouse crashing down out of the clear blue into Muchkinland, I honestly don't know.

But controversy aside, I've been thinking about the piece itself.

You could say that it's put me in touch.

We speak of, and remember, the Burning Times. Such as they were, they were actually more like Hanging Times.

They've hanged witches for a long, long time. More (gods help us) were Hanged than Burned. American witches—the folks at Salem—hanged.

I remember the terrible sanctity of the Gallows Tree, the Tree of Sacrifice.

I remember the Gallows God, the Hanged God.

Thank you, Sam Durant, for reminding me.

They took down your gallows in the park today.

In some ways, that's too bad.