So here we are in 2023. Are you still standing? If so, good for you. If not, we’ll try to throw you a rope, a life preserver, or a hamster, whatever you need. I kinda hit the wall myself and took the week off between Christmas and New Year’s. I spent a few days at a little cabin in the woods. When I booked it, I didn’t realize it was part of the Graylag Nature Preserve. There were whimsical natural artworks all along the road to the cabin — artfully piled rocks or metal sculptures mounted on rocks or old stumps. There were trails right outside the cabin door. Perfect for lazy city people. So after a bit of quiet decompression, I set off on the nearest trail and soon came upon this sign.
I chuckled to myself and thought, OK I’ll bite. I confess that what crossed my mind was the image of the tiny Stonehenge being lowered on the stage in Spinal Tap. Also, I have seen the Stonehenge in Salisbury England, so the sign seemed to be a bit of an overreach, but I reminded myself to be open. Whimsical, kitschy, whatever. It’s all good. This was just a relaxing walk.
I turned on the path where the sign pointed, walked a short distance, crested a small rise, and looked down upon a delightful rock maze. I laughed and felt like a little kid as I scrambled toward the opening.
I descended and then meandered through the little maze. I squeezed through an exit before running back around to do it again.
I bypassed the strategically placed wooden benches in the maze and chose a flat rock sticking out of the wall to sit on. Rather than just continue on with my walk, I wanted to really just Be in this place. From my stone seat I took a couple of deep, slow breaths and looked at the stone wall in front of me.
Really it was more a jumble of rocks than a properly planned wall. Like an excess of rock exuberance.
Of course, because I’m a writer and former English major, I didn’t see just a jumble of rocks. So much for just Being. I saw a metaphor for life. Ugh, I know, stay with me.
OK a metaphor for my life. I want a perfectly formed, organized stonewall. But that’s not how this shit works sweet cheeks. The big and small rocks are events and components of my existence over the years, and some fit fairly well, like my good friends and paddling and camping. Others are oddly sized and clearly jammed in holes whether they fit or not. Maybe like those last 5 years of my marriage. And those visible holes between the rocks. Are they the missing pieces? Missing people? Missing opportunities? But I also noticed the holes give me an opening to view what’s outside of the maze.
I looked at the wall, in all its chaotic construction, and I also can’t deny it’s a, pardon the phrase, rock-solid, cohesive wall. The imperfect parts make a whole, and that’s what we’ve all got to work with.
Now, I could go a bit farther and start talking about how we build walls to keep people and things in, or out, but I’m trying to be nicer this year. Besides Mr. Frost is the expert on New Hampshire rock walls. I know when to quit while I’m behind.
Here is to a new year; more often than not, may we encounter whimsical and joyful things, even if it is a rock wall.