Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rock On

"There is no pleasing New Englanders, my dear, their soil is all rocks and their hearts are bloodless absolutes." – John Updike

Amid the riot of summer's growth, rocks are often disregarded. Staunch sentries of the forest, they lie impassive and unmoved by the frenzy of chlorophyll-fueled growth around them. By winter, their irregular form and massive heft take on a greater prominence against the bare, leafless landscape, with an intrepid beauty all their own.

"Since childhood she had walked the Devon rivers with her father looking for flowers and the nests of birds, passing some rocks and trees as old friends, seeing a Spirit everywhere, gentle in thought to all her eyes beheld."
- Henry Williamson, 1895-1977

I love looking at unusual boulders along my walks, especially if they have interesting lichens growing on them. Somehow, that bit of tenacious green seems to really stand out on a frigid, cold day.

"Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything, even mountains, rivers, plants and trees, should be your teacher."
- Moriheri Ueshiba, Japanese poet, 1883-1969

These boulders looks like they were frozen in time as they tumbled down a wooded slope. Did they look just this way a thousand years ago? Will they remain for another thousand years?

What is it that we New Englanders love about a stone wall, anyway? The suggestion of order? A rough symmetry of form that marks the hand of man?


  1. Fern,

    I love the old stone walls that look like they've been around for centuries. I have two on my property - a more formal one in the front and in the rear one that looks just like the one in your last photo. I especially love the back one where it seems nearly impossible that gravity hasn't destroyed it yet. I find them great fodder for summer daydreams - who built this wall? Did they build all the others in my neighborhood? Who helped them buld it? and on and on...

  2. Yup, the ones where the rocks look like they were just tumbled on top of one another are the best. Recently, I've become so enamored of stone walls that I've been thinking of covering my ugly garage concrete with a stone facade.