It is rewarding to collect stones from our jaunts back and forth from the cottage, or from visits to friends in the country. The pleasure of spotting a well- shaped moss or lichen covered rock, under some leafy hiding spot, and the enthusiasm felt , carrying it back home and imagining where it will go in a wall, is something magical beyond description.
The gathering of stones is not something that takes time, because you can stop any time you want. Gathering enough stones to build a wall, may take forever, but the joy that comes adding each hand picked specimen to our pile outweighs the magnitude of the task undertaken.
This is the strange thing about rocks and time. Onlookers may see the work as labour intensive and a waste of time, it is in fact the very opposite: gathering stones becomes a way of transcending time and slowing down. What could be more maintenance free than a rock? A dry stone wall is simply a well stacked pile of maintenance free objects. Any section of wall we finally build, no matter how long it takes or how small it is, becomes a profound monument to our decision to step outside the demands of modernity with all its hustle-bustle. We have entered a world that is calming and therapeutic. There exists a healing benefit, a type of inner maintenance, free to anyone who takes time to gather and stack stones.