Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Stoned" on stone walls

October, 2008 March, 2009 addition

Yesterday turned out to be a mild mid-March spring day. Lots of sunshine, with temperatures in the sunshine pushing into the lower 50's. What to do? ... Well, after looking out the window and noticing the piles of rocks collected in late December, I decided to continue building the free standing rock fence/wall started last fall.

I say "Stoned" in my title because I recieve great mental satisfaction and tranquility during the act of wall building, as well as in the creation that is pleasing to look at after a rain shower/ snowfall, or to view the many prospectives this stone wall provides as I walk around the yard.

However it is in the building that I have the most satisfaction for the following reasons.

  1. Physically; the continuous bending over to search for, pick up, and/or manuever stones, requires a minimium of technological brain power. That is so calming. The economy, bail out of AIG, environment issues, ... all of the problems that the world faces are NOT mine to deal with as I flip a rock/boulder over to locate a position that is stable and hopefully avoid pinching fingers again.
  2. At the end of a 4-6 hour session constructing another 25-30 wall feet, I know that I have done something as I have "new" aching muscles; lower back fatigue; and stinging tendons in my elbows ... unfortunately called "golfers' elbow" according to the symptoms that I've Goggled on line. ....[Hmmn! ... moving boulders = "golfers' elbow"????]
  3. Most of these igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks were transported here by glaciers of the last Ice Age ending some 10,000 years ago. It is a review of my understanding of NYS Geological history and the rock cycle as I select and place rocks into the wall for display.
  4. I can't help but think of the "rock/boulder building gene" that must be in my DNA. I know that sounds silly, but after watching the PBS series "Monarchy" about the rise and fall English monarchies who built castles as if they were ordering "fast food" and my European serf ancestors who were employed or indentured to actually building those towering walls; I know that natural selection must have preserved some of those genes in our 21st century population. I am grateful for my "nucleic acid connection" to my past, without having to go through page after page of some geneology book.
  5. Other than hauling the stones in my poor little truck whose shock absorbers have been replaced; the building and cost are very inexpensive compared to a pallet of real or fake stones at Lowes or Home Depot.
  6. The free standing rock wall is unique ... not everyone has one of these in their yard.
  7. Like the old European castles, it will be around long after I have left the scene; leaving those who see it a hundred plus years from now, to speculate what life was like when someone build this wall.

Well enough of this "mental state" and back to reality. Today I have decided to go pitch on several loads of horse manure for the garden.



  1. Yes, physical labor is wonderful for your mental state. Your wall is lovely.

  2. I totally agree with stone therapy. In 2001 after my house burned down. I built a stone wall 6 feet high and 78 feet long. I live in a cobblestone school house and while I was laying the rocks I could feel a connection to the builders back in 1829.

  3. If you have inherited the blood of medieval stonemasons and since you seem to enjoy being "philosophical", you might enjoy our "degree" work in Newark Masonic Lodge!

  4. Stone walls are so neat!
    I love them and I love building stuf like that. Just make sure you won't lift any heavy stones the wrong way, or you'll end up having a sinal stenosis in worst case.