Walls and weather

May 15, 2009

It’s easier to work in the rain than in the wind. Even when it’s sunny, wind takes so much effort to work against.

black birch trees blowin' in the wind

black birch trees blowin' in the wind

I didn’t mind the drizzle yesterday. We’d started building a stone wall around what will eventually be a circular central garden. There used to be a barn there, so we’ve spent the past month excavating rocks, nails, chains and other farm detritus to prepare the ground for planting. The digging is monotonous so the wall project is meant to give us a tangible sense of progress around the space.

The only other rock wall I’ve ever helped build was in Mexico, held together Mexican-style with several wheelbarrows full of cement:

good times

good times

This time I’m doing it New England style, with no mortar, mud or natural adhesive of any kind:


i'll take a closer picture next time

The hard physical work was gathering the rocks from a big pile several yards away, either lugging them back one by one or attempting to wheelbarrow several at a time. The hard mental work was finding a way to fit them together both structural integrity and aesthetic value.

It was hard at first, but I eventually found a way to focus and spent about two hours crawling around in the mud, pushing rocks back and forth, finding harmonious ways for them to connect. I usually spend an hour or so anticipating lunchtime, but this time when it came I was squatting in the mud, my face smudged with dirt, rain dripping off my nose, totally absorbed in the project.  And even though the wall doesn’t look like much right now, achieving just a few layers made me feel very accomplished. And tired. And hungry.

It’s work like this that makes baths, burgers and long island iced teas feel so much more worthwhile.


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