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.