Smooth Round Stones

Scheduled power outage today. From 1:00pm – 5:00pm.

Loaded up the Critter and set off for an adventure. I was on a mission to collect more stones. Been going to the same general locale for several years now picking up smooth river rocks. I have used them for a variety of purposes over the years…but they always symbolize impermanence.

One year I stacked them on my front porch. I may have mentioned the relentless and punishing wind we endure in this valley. Every day that I opened my front door, the cairns had crumbled. I welcomed the opportunity to restack them. It felt a little like plucking unruly eyebrows.

The rocks then made an appearance at our wedding. They were stacked on each table.  I’m not sure if anyone took time to find the pleasure in restacking them or not.

Now the rocks are part of a pathway in my “Garden of Impermanence”. Birch Boulevard. I go out to the same place along the river a couple of times each season to gather another sack full or two of new rocks. You’d think that they’d be easy to come across, but it is more difficult than you may imagine. I have searched miles and miles of riverbank, but still have not enough perfect stones to complete the Boulevard.  I have never set a real goal to complete it by any particular time. For a moment today, I thought about changing that. I thought about setting a goal to gather enough rocks to have it finished by Sprout’s arrival. I’ve since changed my mind. One of the things I love the most about the project, is that there has been no timelines of any sort. Sometimes when I go out there, I end up just strolling about and collecting green rocks instead (for another section in the Garden of Impermanence).

That side of the house has become a rather special place for me. It was a pile of dirt when we moved in. Little by little it has transformed. No two years have been alike, no two seasons have been alike. There is nothing permanently attached to anything else. It is full of “ornaments” collected from everywhere. Rocks constantly tumble, and I am thrilled when I get the chance to restack them. Yesterday I added another layer of logs to reinforce last year’s addition, and I sprinkled some wild flower seeds to a section that I tilled. Today I added the stones I collected on my adventure with Critter and Daddio.

As the season slowly changes from winter to spring, I cannot wait to spend more wind-sheltered sunshine time out there. Digging, planning, preparing, planting, feasting, chilling, and growing…

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