Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘picking rocks

Heavy Lifting

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For our Labor Day holiday three-day weekend during this pandemic, we have chosen to stay home but we wanted to spend some time together working on a project that was as much fun as it was a productive accomplishment. With no negotiation required, we both felt an equal desire to put some focus on collecting more rocks for our labyrinth.

There are several very old stockpiles of rocks in our woods from past farmers clearing their fields that we periodically mine for ideal specimens. It is difficult work because the adjacent wooded acres have expanded to swallow the piles and years of accumulating sediment have buried all but just the top portion of some wonderful rocks that need to be excavated.

Since the extra effort it takes to get rocks from these locations tends to limit progress at any given time, we expanded our range yesterday to piles on the edge of our neighbor’s property so we could make a bigger impact on the labyrinth enhancement. It paid off handsomely.

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It was quickly apparent how much the previous rocks defining the labyrinth path have settled into the earth, some almost disappearing from sight.

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I don’t know why I would choose to wear a white shirt to wrestle rocks all day long. That’s an image of a guy who hugs dirty rocks.

By the end of the day yesterday, we were physically exhausted but emotionally energized to see a least two rows improved one step closer to the vision we share of how we’d like the borders to look someday. It will continue to be an ongoing project that advances in fits and starts.

Like building a jigsaw puzzle, the urge to make progress arises in proportion to the progress recently made. This morning, all I want to do is go back down there and add more rocks.

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Written by johnwhays

September 6, 2020 at 9:57 am

Latest Word

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I have a habit of getting stuck on a pattern of frequent reuse of a particular word. The latest word that I’ve noticed –usually it happens without my being aware– is “gorgeous.” In terms of a hot August day at the lake, the word is well suited to describe yesterday.

After a lazy soak in the lake, Cyndie and I lost ourselves in an over-fascination with picking rocks that grabbed our fancy.

“I like this one.”

“Oooh, look at this!”

“Here’s one for you.”

In the water, they look so shiny and bright. Cyndie brings up a pile of them to keep, all of which tend to turn into much less spectacular stones after they’ve dried.

I like shapes and textures. Tear drop and smooth.

Both of our eyes are drawn to the ones with lines of different color layers.

I noticed an urge to break some open to get another view of the layers. That thought brought back a memory of hammering different colored stones to dust with my siblings to make layered sand art jars.

I remember thinking those always turned out gorgeous.

And for the record, this August weather totally rocks!

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Written by johnwhays

August 12, 2018 at 8:33 am

Snake Aversion

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Why did it have to be snakes? All I wanted to do was pick a few rocks. One of the first that I lifted uncovered a young garter snake, causing a typical startle, despite my awareness of the likelihood of the possibility. The stone garden on the side of our house where we have a fire pit, happens to be the spot where snakes are known to reside.

DSCN3918eI am not a fan.

The next rock I moved revealed the ghost of a snake, skin that had been outgrown, which conjures an image which has the potential of being even more shudder-worthy than the real thing. There is a snake larger than this lurking somewhere nearby. The power of the mind makes this more ominous than an actual snake.

All this anxiety-inducing effort I was engaged in was for a good purpose, of course. I worked yesterday to replace the plastic grates on the path out the back door of the barn, with stones.

Upon simply placing the first few stones, it became so obvious this was a better solution, both functionally and aesthetically, that I marvel over why we didn’t do it at first.

DSCN3919eDSCN3920e.

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Some improvements take a couple tries before we get them right.

In a way, I think this path will mean more to me now, after having first tried something that didn’t work out as well as I imagined it might. It will certainly be worth the repeated scares I endured while hunting for the perfect stepping-stones from the snake-infested quarry beyond our deck.

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Written by johnwhays

September 12, 2015 at 9:45 am