Saturday, April 30, 2005

Walls of Stone

I got back a few hours ago from a business trip to Conneticutt and after deleting the 154 spam emails and reading the legit 32, I felt I had to write this down before time went by and it slipped away.

Conneticutt is a beautiful area. Almost all of the homes I saw were massive and incredibly well kept. Almost all of them had gorgeous barns on the land that I would just love to get inside of. I've always had a thing for barns. But what will truly stick with me isn't the barns, the historic homes or the great seafood dinner I ate.

It's the stone walls.

They're everywhere you look. They surround and frame and criss-cross the land. You see them from back roads. You see them from the Interstate. You see them from the hotel.

They're beautiful in a way. Beautiful the way "cellar door" has been described as the most beautiful two words in the english language. But they're also haunting.

From the highway you can see them in overgrown forests that look as if no one has stepped there in centuries. This goes on for miles. You won't see a single house anywhere - but there'll be long lead-colored ribbons of stone walls that seem to chase your car as you drive.

On long trips my mind begins to wander. Usually it's tying up loose ends of stories I've been thinking about or else I see someone drive by and start making up tales about that person.

Yes. I know I'm easily amused.

But today my mind kept coming back to those endless stone walls.

Long ago someone built them by hand, rock by heavy rock. They were built to keep livestock in, or other things out. Time passed and land changed hands or people died or the place got foreclosed on... whatever... and those walls of stone and their purpose were forgotten.

We each build walls of stone in our minds, some of us without even realizing it. We build them to keep our livestock in. Or to keep other things out.

Time passes and sometimes we stumble upon those walls, often forgetting why we went through the trouble of building them in the first place. This idea bothered me for some reason and for the better part of the four hour drive my mind chewed on this like a terrier with a meatbone.

We can't help but build our walls. I think it's our nature to put them around what's ours with heavy pieces of rock. To protect our weak spots as best we can.

I finally realized those dark spaces between the rocks are what I'm really interested in. Those little spaces where the stuff we want to protect seeps out no matter how much we try to prevent it.

That's where the stories are.


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