Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘balancing rocks

Rock Work

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Yesterday was one of those days when the things we thought we might do when we talked about it at breakfast, ended up being different than what we chose to do after stepping out into the day. It was funny that both Cyndie and I lobbied for a refocus to something different.

I wanted to do some rock work and she wanted to transplant some trees.

We started out by the road where the recent tree clearing by the township maintenance crew had uncovered an old rock pile and decaying fence post that marked our property boundary. I wanted to stack a cairn of stones to more purposefully indicate the spot.

We also dug up a couple of rocks that were pushing their way above ground enough to become a nuisance when mowing. What do I do with extra rocks? Find somewhere to balance them.

I picked Cyndie’s perennial garden.

We moved from there to transplanting volunteer oak trees from places they shouldn’t be to just outside the fence line of the paddock. If they take, the ultimate goal would be for them to provide natural shade for the horses. It’ll take a year to see if they survive the shock we put them through today, but it will take a lot of years to become tall enough to offer real shade.

I’m honestly skeptical about the chances, but if we never try, we’ll never have even a possibility.

The biggest hurdle is the soil. The trees were extricated from sandy soil at the high point of our property and replanted into heavy clay soil by the drainage ditch that crosses our back field.

Time will tell.

Maybe I should think about stacking rocks to make a wall high enough to offer shade. It would probably take as much time as growing trees, but the odds of success are probably better.

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Written by johnwhays

September 24, 2018 at 6:00 am

Another View

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I have been known to tip a few rocks over the years. It is simultaneously both invigorating and calming, if that is possible. An energizing meditation of balance. It’s unexpected, sometimes mind-boggling, captivating, and often photo-worthy.

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What’s not to like?

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Well, quite possibly, several things. I can totally understand another way of thinking about this topic after reading a post by Brent McDaniel for the Friends of the Smokies blog.

Titled, “Don’t Move Rocks!” it provides a perspective from the “leave no trace” philosophy, offering many very logical reasons for consideration.

The simplest might be, If every one of the 10 million people who visit the Smokies every year decided they should build their own cairn, do you think that’s a park you’d want to visit again, up to your ears in stacks of rocks?

Think about it. If a little is good, more must be better, right? It’s art. Who doesn’t want more artistry in the world?

Going forward, I have decided to be more thoughtful about the places where I choose to move rocks.

I’m also now inspired to want to walk in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Thanks for that alternative perspective, Brent!

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Written by johnwhays

July 6, 2017 at 6:00 am

Almost Ready

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This is our fifth spring of reworking our Rowcliffe Forest Garden Labyrinth after the abuses that winter throws at it. It’s got me questioning our decision to make it as large as we did. Aesthetically, it is just the way I envisioned, so that’s very rewarding. The downside however, is that maintenance ends up being a VERY large chore.

Here’s something I don’t get: The freeze/thaw cycles tend to push rocks up in the farmer’s cultivated fields, where they are totally unwanted. The rocks we positioned to define the circling labyrinth path are all moving down and getting swallowed by the earth around them.

I spent time re-balancing the double-stacked rocks at the U-turns last night. There were areas of the paths where I could barely find the rocks because they had settled so deep in the soft turf. My long-term goal was to keep adding rocks every year, to form little rock wall barriers defining the trail.

At this point, it is more like starting from scratch every spring, trying to define the pathway from almost nothing.

I’m probably exaggerating a little bit, because after a reasonable effort last night, we’ve gotten close to feeling completely ready for tomorrow’s big event.

World Labyrinth Day is Saturday and we have opened up our 11-circuit Chartes style labyrinth to host visitors in the “Walk as One at 1:00” event. There is going to be a global wave of peace flowing tomorrow afternoon.

If you don’t make it out to Wintervale to join us, pause wherever you are during the one o’clock hour and send some peace out in the world.

Then take a moment to absorb the wave flowing along.

Namaste.

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Entryway 2.1

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DSCN5010eBack in the first week of August, I posted about the bush at the front door of our house dying an unexplained death. A few days after I published the picture, I arrived home from work to find the dead branches all gone.

Cyndie had cut it back to the main trunk, saving that for me in case I wanted to balance some rocks on it.

dscn5151eThat was all the invitation I needed.

I didn’t actually believe this would last as long as it has. When I pass by with the lawn tractor while mowing, I fully expect the stone to topple over from the vibration, but it has survived multiple mowings thus far without falling. There have been a few rainy and windy days, too, but it continues to stand.

I never expect balanced rocks to last, but when they endure for long periods of time, I grow increasingly attached to them. It becomes hard to try something fresh after they come down, because I get more interested in trying to get back what we had before.

That’s probably a good metaphorical life-lesson for me right there.

I’ll ponder that as I gaze a while longer at the mesmerizing balanced stone.

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Written by johnwhays

September 14, 2016 at 6:00 am