Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Winter snow has yet to find us this year. Frost enters and leaves the ground frequently and our plants are fully exposed to temperature extremes and drying wind. Clearing brush and moving large stones provide outside activity now. A single stone, with its long axis nearly vertical, lay nearly buried at the base of a tree. A wedge shaped stone and the pry bar working together exposed the end of the monster. Hammer and chisel opened existing cracks. Soon one stone became six and the pieces were moved out of their woodland hole.
Only one of the newly separated pieces was small enough to be safely picked up. This piece showing its exposed and weathered top surface is too large to carry. It can be moved by rocking it from side to side while walking it forward. Some day it will be placed at the top of a stone wall. Its flat mass will tie a section of wall together creating a stable section of wall. Rain will wash the surface clean. A natural seat will invite visitors to sit and explore the natural history written on the surface of this stone.
Newly exposed interior surfaces have a story of their own. Man's prying eyes and the light of day are finding the interior of this stone for the first time. Layering speaks to the sedimentary origin of this stone but the differences in its color point out the complexity of creating stone from water born deposits. Exposed to the elements this fresh surface will soften. Rain water will dissolve minerals in the stone and lichens will find an anchorage slowly covering its surface.
More time and effort will be required to move these new stones to a wall. A rocking walk or an end over end roll will move them to wood's edge. From there they can be placed in the dump box of my lawn mower trailer. A field stone loading ramp will get them up into the pickup truck. Then they will easily move onto the top of a new wall. All of this effort may explain why the pioneer farmers put the large stones at the bottom of the wall at field's edge.