Thursday, February 14, 2013

Heart of Stone

'Heart in wall' photo by john shaw-rimmington
There is something very positive, very self-determined about a stone. It knows what it wants and what it's about. When you pick it up in your hands, it has surprising weight. It has this undeniable tendency to want to get down or be put down. 

Being so earnestly attracted to the earth is a very attractive quality. Everything is affected by gravity for sure, but stones just seem to gravitate to it. They were meant for it. Place them one upon another and their sheer weight locks them into position. In fact, the only thing that holds stones up for any length of time are other stones. Stones work together well. Stones get along. And stones get along surprisingly well in a dry stone wall.

Working with stones building a wall requires forethought and planning. You have to be sure you know where you want to move the big ones especially. They are not really stubborn, so much as cautious of us. They are not sure we have thought long enough about where they should ultimately be placed for the next hundred years or so.

It's good to tune into the restrained weightiness which stones possess. Restraint is a good thing to learn from them. Without peace and restraint there is only straining. And we experience most strains and stresses because we have not discerned what stones are saying or learned yet how to exchange time and effort for a sense of purpose, perspective and peace.

It is ironic that something so hard and heavy as a stone can produce in us such joy and lightheartedness. For a material with so much gravity and reticence, it is remarkable how well it allows itself to be put into formations that uplift the soul and free the imagination. Perhaps stones are soft on the inside. Perhaps secretly they like us, and know what we need. Maybe beneath their harsh exterior of silence and coldness there is an optimistic enamoured heart of stone.