This wall lives and breathes.
Its age shows in striking beauty, memories of the old man’s callused hands – artist’s hands – that shaped the stones with such love. No mortar for him, but only careful picking and choosing, a mosaic of gray stone laid one upon the other. Joining together stronger than alone, climbing higher.
Stop! Look at me. You may walk beside, but do not cross. I have purpose. I stand firm.
Norsemen cleaved the stone with battle axe a many, their angry cries bludgeoned into the rough surfaces. Blood soaked the stones. The breeze brings a whiff of sweat and fear from bygone centuries.
Rough edges smoothed by storms unleashing their fury, when the heavens opened to wash away the blood. Lightning strikes scar the stone with black, their fingerprints embedded deep.
Stones reverberate with echoes of a horse whinnying as it leaps across the wall, the tinkling bells of sheep as they herd past the barrier, the jagged groans of a farmer tilling the rocky fields, the whispered promises of lovers lost in a clandestine embrace, the mournful dirge of a funeral procession on its way to a final good-bye.
Sounds seared into the heart of the wall, trapped for time eternal.
The wall has survived the seasons again and again. Spring, cradling a robin’s nest and its blue eggs in a small hole eroded through the years. Summer heralds laughing children and barking dogs running along its path, weaving and bobbing and balancing through the turns. Fall brings showers of leaves, dressing the stones in a cloak of bright scarlet, shiny gold, vivid copper. Winter shoulders snow piled high and ice that sparkles like diamonds in the sun. Then it starts all over again, a new.
Time marches on, we humans come and go, but the stones – the stones stand firm while they ache with our secrets. In the stillness, the wall waits.
This wall – this wall lives and breathes.
This work is inspired by John Grant’s stunning photos at Meticulous Mick.
I am so very grateful for his allowing me to use his photos to share this story.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch,
a smile, a kind word, a listening ear,
an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential
to turn a life around.
~ Leo Buscaglia ~
Dogs have long held the distinction of “man’s best friend,” ever-cheerful companions with whom we share our homes and our lives. But the most revealing proof of their love and faithfulness isn’t seen only in the happiest of times, but also when things are at their bleakest.
Members from the animal welfare organization Blue Cross of India recently witnessed a remarkable testament to the bonds of loyalty between people and their pets — one which endures even after death.
The organization explains on their Facebook page that while driving through the city of Chennai earlier this month, Blue Cross general manager Dawn Williams noticed a dog sitting off the road next to a fresh grave.
There are an estimated 35 million stray dogs in India, so Williams didn’t stop to give it much thought. Little could he have known then that the animal wasn’t in fact a stray; he was still sitting with his owner.
About two weeks later, another group of Blue Cross volunteers saw the dog sitting exactly where Williams had seen him earlier, only this time he looked worryingly thin. They decided to stop and offer the animal some food, but he refused to eat or even move from the grave. Instead, he only whimpered.
After asking some merchants nearby, the volunteers came to learn that the dog had been rescued from the streets by a local teenager who’d made him his pet. Sadly, however, the boy had died in an accident and been buried weeks earlier — and since then, the loyal pet had yet to leave his side.
When Williams learned of the story, he returned to the area and tracked down the boy’s grief-stricken mother. She had assumed that the dog, whose name is Tommy, had run away when her son died. Williams knew just where to find the dog, they walked together back to the grave.
“When he saw her, Tommy got up and went slowly to her. It was obvious that he hadn’t eaten much (if anything at all) in days,” writes the Blue Cross. “Tommy rested his head on her feet and cried some more, as the mother bent down and, lifting his head up, kissed him, before burying her face against his neck and crying.”
But in their shared grief over the boy, the mother and dog seemed to form a new bond:
“The mother picked up Tommy and carried him back to her house, telling our team, as she left, that she had wrongfully thought, because her only child had died, that she had nothing to live for.”
She said something else, too — that despite her loss, she still had a son in Tommy.
The Times of India tried to reach out to the mother, but she is said to have moved back to her hometown, taking Tommy with her.
This is not the first time that the bonds between people and their pets have lasted long after the former has passed away. Perhaps the best-known example of this is the story of Hachikō, a dog in Japan who, in the early part of the last century, waited for nearly 10 years at a train station for his deceased owner to return.
Stephen Messenger, The Dodo
Your path is your own, but you must walk side by side with others,
with compassion and generosity as your beacons.
If anything is required, it is this:
fearlessness in your examination of life and death;
willingness to continually grow; and,
openness to the possibility that the ordinary is extraordinary,
and that your joys and your sorrows have meaning and mystery.
~ Elizabeth Lesser ~
One does not become enlightened by imaging figures of light,
but by making the darkness conscious.
~ C. G. Jung ~
(From) THE PROPHET
~ Kahlil Gibran ~
Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Experience is not what happens to you;
it is what you do with what happens to you.
~ Aldous Huxley ~
Video: YouTube by Eldad Hagar
If we really want to pray,
we must first learn to listen;
for in the silence of the heart,
~ Blessed Mother Teresa ~
Every human being comes to earth with sealed orders.
~ Soren Kierkegaard ~
Refuse to fall down
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down,
lift your heart toward heaven,
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled.
You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you from lifting your heart
It is in the middle of misery
that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good
came of this,
is not yet listening.
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés ~