We completed the two day Redwood City workshop last Sunday at Lyngso Garden Materials. Sean Adcock, John Scott and I instructed a large group of enthusiastic students showing them how to build a free-standing wall using this rather wavy, not-as-flat-as-it-looks material known as Cold Water Canyon Stone that is found locally in California.
The new 40 foot section of wall, which included a wooden garden gate entrance way (framed with two authentic limestone fence posts imported from Kansas) was completed well on time and looked quite beautiful yesterday in the morning sunlight, when we took some more pictures.
It occurs to me that though there are things about the finished wall that could be improved on and there were holes in one or two places where you could see through, the wall we built as a group consists of more than just stones. It is the spaces too. The places where people stop and chat and get to know each other, the pauses when you think 'wow', this is so great to be working with stone, and the gaps in time and space when you are lost in the wonder and satisfaction that comes with building something with your hands.
I read a quote today online about some very early native American walls.
"The native Americans of Martha’s Vineyard say that they built the stone rows with openings between the rocks so that the wind could blow through. They are referring to one of the many images of the breath of life. The stones must breathe, the animals must breathe and the plants must breathe. This unification of the spirit and the flesh is at the core of native American harmony of thought and feeling and makes the stone rows sacred." --James Mavor, from his booklet A Line of Stones to the Sun Celebrating the Ceremonial Stone Landscapes of Eastern North America