Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stone Story. Segment Two. Part 7

The next day the valley, which is often shrouded in mist, was unusually dark and foggy. The Scribe who had spent most of the morning deep in meditation, suddenly sensed someone approaching. A solitary waller appeared out of the mist, walking up the footpath. He was carrying a black rubber bucket, the type wallers use to carry their tools in or fill with hearting stones.

The Squire (the square stone) nudged Rhonda and whispered "He's back."

Andy put down his bucket, looked around, took out his gloves and sat down on a large rock to rest for a moment. Then he began to put a few stones on the wall.

He looked at the Squire, bent over and picked him up slowly.

The Squire felt heavy in Andy's hands. The wetness was abrasive and Andy thought about putting on his gloves. Instead he shifted the weight of the cube shaped stone from hand to hand, as if pondering some deep mystery. The regular planes of the stone with its several right angles actually made it a challenging shape to place in a wall of otherwise irregular rounded beck-stones. Andy studied the bedding plane. He looked for a natural batter. Though it had several faces that could be described as 'desirable', in terms of colour and patina, Andy would be committed to placing it in the wall in a way that was structurally correct. Dry stone walls built so as to be decorative are often not very beautiful and certainly not well built. Walls built to be strong and permanent end up being structural and almost always beautiful as well.

Andy studied the wall. Where was he going to place the Squire? The course of stones he had previously started needed a 'next' stone that straddled a gap between two roundish ones. The natural tendency with any 'square' stones would be to lay them level, placed flat across the joint. 'One over two, two over one'. Andy intuitively knew this. He also knew there was a solution which augmented that rule in this case. He placed the Squire on the diagonal so that one corner nestled between the two round stones below. It was a spacial solution that allowed for the stones in that part of the wall to tighten up along the wall instead of just slump downwards with any shifting of the foundation.

"Nice" said Rhonda, looking up and admiring how the Squire had been placed.

Andy was sure he heard something. He stood up and looked around. No one was around.
The valley was still cloaked in a dark haze.

He started back to work again, placing other stones on the wall. They all fit perfectly.

"Nice work" said Rhonda.

Andrew turned his head quickly and looked directly at the round stone.

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