Sunday, April 4, 2010

On Leaving Some Stones "Unturned".

In a culture determined to explain everything away, whether through science or religion, it is gratifying to discover there are still stones around that haven't been 'turned'. While the facts are easy to come by, the mystery is getting more and more difficult to find, especially at Easter time. Discovering a stone along the way that has been 'unturned' is an invitation to imagine what is hidden below. Probably nothing, of course. But possibly a treasure, a secret message, a tiny animal or a secret door to a magic place.

I 'turn over' stones every day. I dig them up by hand and I roll them into position in the walls I'm building. This is not a miracle, but it is a wonder. I never know how large a stone is going to be, especially when there is obviously only part of it sticking out of the ground. I don't know what shape it will be either. It could be absolutely useless for the purpose of fitting into my wall. It might be impossibly big too. If it has a nice face and is of a size I can move I will take great pleasure in moving the stone away to its new home in the wall.

This stone was one I uncovered on Lingmore Fell last month in Cumbria. It will make a great 'throughstone'. But the story is not over.

The explanation for the opening I leave in the ground may become the foundation for a theory of the universe as valid as anything anyone has ever come up with. Generations may successfully survive and good will spread on earth based on an absolutely correct interpretation of why the stone was moved. I will think I moved the stone to build a wall with it but I may be missing the bigger picture.

As I dig with my hands, ( if I dont have a shovel or pick with me ) I have to decide at one point or another that a deeply buried stone is worth the effort. To leave such a stone unturned however is not a failure, nor does it constitute a waste of time. It is an opportunity to stand back from my life and let the mystery and discretion prevail. Thinking with my hands requires not trying to hold on to everything with my mind.

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