Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Stone wall enchantment

I am in love with stone walls. I have taken loads of pictures of them, made art about them, made offerings to, on and under them.  I have tried to build my own stone walls with limited success and great humility.

Stonework Techniques and Projects.
 Charles Raven
I have gone on letterboxing hikes and found secret messages hidden in many stone walls.

I have a book about them.

I stop to look at the hand-picked stones on bank buildings, pay attention to the kind of stone used in different houses in different parts of this area. Some houses are make of red field stone pulled from farm fields and some from schist quarried in the Philadelphia area.  In Massachusetts  homes are not schist.  There they quarry granite.

I dream of standing near the wailing wall. Not to wail. Just to stand near it and connect with the ancient energy and effort of the builders, who were probably not the ones who planned the wall. That is so often the case with stone.  I would leave a note to give thanks for the cleverness and ingenuity man has to shape and stack stones.

Cape Cod cairn.
I stack stones into cairns whenever I have a chance to. They serve to hold a place on the earth for the memory of my son, for some delight that I am feeling that day or for a wish I make. A cairn is a good repository for a spell.

Bonsai training at Longwood Gardens in December 1012
Stones are everlasting and solid.

They can shape the world around them.

I lay my hand flat against chimneys.  I get thrown off of properties occasionally while taking pictures of bank barns and Swiss barns built of stone.

I think about the ballast stones (called Belgian block around here) in the street in Germantown, a historic part of Philadelphia where battles were fought in among the German homes.  These stones have known the feet of some real heroes and so many other people who came before me.  They are worn and wise and beautiful to see.

Mostly though, for me, its the standing walls. My Barbie dolls were all rock climbers when I was young.  We didn't need or want a pink camper, we made rooms for our dolls in the gaps and empty places in stone walls or rock faces in the woods.  Barbie can climb rocks in high heels and make a meal of acorns and furniture from moss.


  1. Merry meet, Gemmi! I love your blog, and look forward to reading older posts. I love rock formations of all kinds, and especially love cairns. This post resonated with me very much.

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