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The best newspaper story we've read in a while

Submitted by Roanman on Mon, 05/09/2011 - 11:45


There aren't so many nice stories around lately, so I grabbed more of this one than I would have otherwise, just in case you can't get behind The Wall Street Journal's paywall with the provided links which as usual is accessed by clicking the photo and/or clicking on Mr. Moffets name below.


Maybe Graciela Sees It From Heaven, This Huge Guitar Made of Trees


It's Mr. Ureta's Tribute to a Late Wife; His Girlfriend, Ms. Ponzi, Is OK With It, Too



GENERAL LEVALLE, Argentina—Pilots often stare in disbelief when they make their first flight over this hamlet on the verdant pampa. There, on the monotonous plain below, is a giant guitar landscaped out of cypress and eucalyptus trees. It is more than two-thirds of a mile long.



Behind the great guitar of the pampa, and its 7,000-odd trees, is a love story that took a tragic turn.

The green guitar is the handiwork of a farmer named Pedro Martin Ureta, who is now 70. He embedded the design into his farm many years ago, and maintains it to this day, as a tribute to his late wife, Graciela Yraizoz, who died in 1977 at the age of 25.

"It's incredible to see a design that was so carefully planned, so far below," says Gabriel Pindek, a commercial pilot for Argentina's Austral Lineas Aereas. "There's nothing else like it."

Born to a ranching family with deep roots here, Mr. Ureta was something of a bohemian as a young man. He traveled to Europe and hobnobbed with artists and revolutionaries. After coming home in the late 1960s, the then-28-year old became captivated by Ms. Yraizoz, who was just 17 and dazzlingly pretty.

One day while traveling in a plane over the pampa, Ms. Yraizoz noticed a farm that, through a fluke of topography, looked a bit like a milking pail from the air, her children say. That's when she started musing about going one better and designing the family's own farm in the form of a guitar, an instrument she loved.
My father was a young man, and very busy with his work and his own plans," says his youngest child, Ezequiel, who is 36. "He told my mom, 'Later. We'll talk about it later.'"

But Ms. Yraizoz didn't have much time to wait. One day in 1977, she collapsed. She had suffered a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, a weakening in the wall of a blood vessel that eventually burst. She died shortly thereafter, carrying what would have been the couple's fifth child.

Today, Mr. Ureta says his wife's passing turned his life in a more philosophical direction. ¨I stepped back for a time,¨ he says. He read about Buddhism. Mr. Ureta says a line by an Argentine folk guitarist and writer, Héctor Roberto Chavero Aramburo, stuck in his head: "I galloped a lot, but I arrived late all the same."

Says Soledad: "He used to talk about regrets, and it was clear he regretted not having listened to my mother about the guitar."