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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gifts of Stone

It’s been too long since my husband and I have walked in the woods behind the house.  So on a sunny, snow-free holiday noontime, before settling in front of the fire and football, we pulled on our heavy boots and hiked through rugged land, now dotted with hanging branches and broken trees, evidence of one hurricane and the many wind storms that have battered the land over the last years. 

When our daughter was young, she and her next-door cousins ran through trails back there, vaulting over ledges.  They settled into a fort they claimed under the brush by the wetlands and played on a plank balanced over sawed-off tree stumps.  Sunday, we stepped over rotting tree limbs, under branches held via tenuous strips of bark, beside trunks leaning at impossible angles.

Picking our way through the woods, we explored the uneven paths tumbling down to the swamp, then climbed up to the yard of around-the-corner-neighbors whose property provided the destination at the end of many hikes during our girl’s childhooda country lot accommodating chickens and goats, a multi-tiered tree-house, and raspberry bushes from which they invited us to pick.  I can’t remember the last time we were there.

As we stepped onto their land on Sunday, I realized that sometime, when we weren’t paying attention, life altered directions.  As a result of that turn on the map, we missed something true and clear. Over the years  we’ve not been climbing through the back woods, our neighbors have been busy, clearing their property, creating adornments from the granite that sprouts from our earth as easily as any flower.



On their lot, towers of stones stand in careful compositions, each labeled with a specific designation.  Stepping from one to another we found “Serendipity,” “Perseverance,” and “Hope.”  Two small rock statues, marking the entrance to a path through thick myrtle have been dubbed “Love” and “Light.” Tucked into slight spaces we found “Power” and “Creator,” and “Fertility.”  Three statues situated on a slight ledge held no identification tags in my mind I dubbed them “Protectors.”  




Wandering through their green velvet acre, we marveled at our good timing.  How meaningful to come across this treasure of composition and peace on the first day of a new year.  It was a captivating beginning, a moment of depth that grounded us in all that we need to value.  Circling the land, I opened myself to the strength of stone, to the message of balance and patience—and a new-found clarity that when life makes it challenging to maintain either,  “Contentment” and Understanding” are only a walk-through-the-woods away.





14 comments:

jabblog said...

Serendipity! A walk in the elements always brings peace and perspective, I find.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Well....aren't those something! Truly amazing. You make me want to take a walk but it's so damn frigid out!

Old Kitty said...

It must have been quite peaceful and cathartic building these stone towers of wisdom! Lovely!

I like your neighbours! Take care
x

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I'm looking out my window at a dawn-pink sky and thinking how natural things can bring such clarity. I love that your neighbors saw so much within the rocks, which are, after all, the very foundation of our planet. Thank you for sharing this beautiful, perceptive walk.

Mimi said...

Beautiful post, lovely pictures and what a marvellous idea! It's nice to have such lovely neighbours, with that lovely energy flowing around you.

Catherine Denton said...

Oh my, that is truly beautiful! I love how they've incorporated nature to encourage such precious messages. Thanks for sharing this!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What a cool discovery! Aren't you glad you went on that walk?

Jan Morrison said...

A wonderful discovery...people who love an inukshuk or two! These cairns are fantastic and beloved of the Inuit of our North.
And it makes beauty from hard work...

jbchicoine said...

That's pretty cool--like a new twist on the stone wall theme!

Carol Kilgore said...

I don't know which I enjoyed more, the beautiful photographs, your lovely words, or the devotion of your neighbors to their property.

Perfect post for the beginning of a new year.

Anne Gallagher said...

As always, it's just like home.

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow! Those are entirely amazing! I'm so impressed ... and a little humbled at the same time. Lovely. :)

missing moments said...

What a lovely place to walk! It is always renewing!

Lost_without_a_Map said...

Very nice. I love to walk/hike. It's very cleansing for me. Next time you walk, come and visit my yard...we can spend hours identifying the various weeds.