Stonework And The Return Of Nature

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled Nature Returns 52619a

Many people have the opinion that the age of megaliths was when mankind truly began to conquer nature. We literally built a world made from the bones of the earth. As a child I found a book in my grandfather’s library that was all about ancient mysteries. All of articles in the book were about megalithic cities and artifacts like Stonehenge. I didn’t just wonder about how the stones were cut an moved but I dreamed about what it must have been like to live in those structures. I would imagine what the city sounded like with the music of ancient instruments echoing off of the stones. At a time when every meal was cooked over an open fire. In the days before the internet I would spend hours leafing through dusty old books and learning about stone cutting and leverage. I was convinced that I could build my own megalith o e day. But hey, I was ten years old and anything was possible and rocks were free so they fit into a ten year old’s budget.

Needless to say that as an adult I still have an affinity for stonework. I pass by the wall in tonight’s feature image every day and look at the large blocks of stone. I don’t really know the history of this retaining wall. It stands just a few feet off of the highway and in the winter when there’s no foliage I can read the lay of the land well enough to know that a structure of some kind once stood above the wall. Not far from this spot is the foundation of church that no longer stands and a forgotten graveyard that I have not had a chance to investigate.

But what has really caught my eye lately us the roses that cascade down the stone. They are mixed in with at least four other wild vines. My mind was taken back to my grandfather’s library and the pictures of ancient ruins in South America. Those pictures of vine covered temples and trees growing in the hallowed halls. The broken idols that once symbolized human mastery over nature are now the hunts of serpents and birds. Mankind’s victory over the forces of nature is temporary. The masterfully crafted stone blocks now tumble as the mountain rejects it’s constraints. Rain washes out the mortar and trees push away the stones until one day the wall topples like a child’s toy.

“Nature Returns 52619b” The trees are beginning to topple the old stone wall.

Perhaps if the world stands long enough a young boy will enter his grandfather’s library and whatever form the books will take will feature images of cut stone in Appalachia. Perhaps the boy will marvel at the ancestors skill in shaping the bones of the earth and read about our lives and wonder what must have been like to live in such a marvelous time when stone cutters and code writers worked side by side to tame the land.

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Replenished

The water spills softly over the old stone wall to replenish the pool at the bottom. The pool fills and spills into the Kanawha River. The peaceful flow of the water invokes the memories of a simpler time. A time before the nearby road existed and a weary soul could stop and recharge his spirit in the tranquility of the falls. Just to right of the falls is a cave that was carved out by an earlier flow. Perhaps a cool place to sit down and enjoy a lunch break out of the sun. I imagine the traveler refilling his canteen in the falls as he allows the water to wash over him to remove the dust of the trail. After he is well rested he gathers his personal equipment and continues his journey down river. There’s no pressure to be there by a certain time. He’ll be there when he gets there. His life is full of living and he makes the most of every moment of every day as God intended.

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A Small Adventure And A Forbidden Gateway

I exited the highway and slowly drifted down the muddy road. A few days prior I’d spotted the tunnel. The entrance is dark and foreboding. The Virginia Creeper vines hang across the opening as if they’re daring me to step within reach. Just on the other side the light falls gently on a peaceful looking forest. This is a mystery. My mind harkens back to my childhood and games of dungeons and dragons. What will happen if I cross the threshold? Will the vines try to grab me and pull me up into some primeval jungle? Will I find out the peaceful scene on the other side is just an illusion as I’m transported to an alternate reality by some mystical gateway? Will I find an angry axe wielding ogre waiting to squish me into jelly? My sense of fantasy and adventure begins to run wild. I began to recall hours of solving puzzles and riddles with my college friends in a world where one’s fate was controlled by the roll of a 20 sided die. It was pure escapism. Magical swords, cursed rings and legendary beasts all awaited us on Thursday nights in the student lounge.

The best games were the ones where we bent the rules just a little to keep the story going. I was tempted to temp fate and enter the tunnel for a few minutes. I quickly checked my pocket and found my trusty Victorinox Swiss Army Knife to fend away the vines. However, I remembered that the 20 sided die was lost to a wild roll and an open floor vent in 1988. Unwilling to face any axe wielding ogres without my lucky die, I opted to stay in the real world…for now. I turned my big blue truck back towards the open road and my day job where the vines don’t try to eat you. However, I am a little suspicious of the ficus in the corner of the office. 😉

Mysterious Mountains, Ancient Walls and New Eyes

As I look at peaks and ridges of my Appalachian Mountains I have an overwhelming urge to go explore each of them. Somewhere in this group of hills and valleys is the hidden remains of an ancient empire. Long ago a stone wall was built here that stretched out for miles. The big mystery to me is what were they protecting themselves from? There’s legends of giants in the mountains. I have always had this fantasy of finding a hidden cave entrance and stepping inside to find ancient treasures and stone artworks. At one point we would walk along and find lithics. Stone age tools and points that made life possible turn up here often. The worked stone comes from all over North America. It was often used as a barter when tribes traded with each other.

There’s also the story of a scuttled brass cannon from the “War of Northern Aggression “. (American Civil War) as well as rumors of Confederate gold.

More than likely one might find old overgrown farms. When I was a kid we could find old mason jars on almost any given day of exploration. It was probably left behind by a family who canned their garden produce but in my eyes it was always an abandoned moonshine still. Not all treasures are golden. Sometimes they are rusty tin, glass or ceramic.

Whatever is out there it’s bound to be interesting. There’s a story in everything we leave behind. Old walls, broken glass or rusty barbed wire it doesn’t matter. It’s all about the lives that filled these mountains and the stories that they left behind.