Saturday, March 20, 2010

Restless Hands


On the outside my hands may look inactive and merely in my pockets 'waiting around', so to speak, but on the inside they are busy fixing the 'gap' in this old dry stone wall. They can hardly hold back from doing it. There have been several other times this week where I have wanted to stop along a Lake District hiking trail and repair parts of a wall.

There is an expression used for a certain kind of activity where someone does something positive or constructive for strangers without any reward, and for no particular reason. It's called a 'Random Act of Kindness'. Ive read about it and even seen bumper stickers encouraging this sort of thing. I think any wall that is in need of a little bit of repair could use this sort of thing.
It occurs to me that leaving a community with a newly repaired wall is kind of a 'random stack of kindness' The DSWA here in Britain makes a point of doing this sort of thing all the time. Volunteers go out and fix walls for the day, purely out of an appreciation for them and a desire to see them not all disappear from the British landscape.

I think of this as a type of "contra-vandalism". It is a way of us getting back at the chaos, destruction, meaningless and yes often bureaucratic red tape surrounding our lives. Its a way of doing something structural, beautiful and uplifting in our community without having to always jump through a myriad of administrative hoops to get it approved.


In fact, I'd like to be part of a guerrilla squad of dry stone wallers who take it even further, not just repairing walls (as we have so few of those in Canada) but build whole new walls and nice stone benches and small sections of old-looking dry stone gardens and beautiful enclosed areas of stone, all done covertly by an efficient group of volunteers during the night, and leave these stone 'features' to be 'discovered' the next day. Hopefully people would be happy to have something as wonderful as a natural stone wall to walk by . No doubt they would appreciate the added character to their park. In this way the dreary public places people pass by every day could be gradually transformed.

Or would they all have to be taken down? I wonder.

My hands are getting restless just thinking about it.

1 comment:

  1. Strangely subversive but what a lovely idea.

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