31 December 2018

Setting Stones

The singular coldness of basalt, agleam with the residue of maritime fog, seeps into fingers stiff from work and winter air. The greyness itself seems to transfer to the flesh as if the rock itself is exacting a toll for having been quarried for use by the hands that dared disturb the earth. Fair exchange, perhaps. There is no escaping that in the material world creation incurs disruption, if not outright destruction. We do well to acknowledge that condition through respect for the resources consumed and environments affected. Our destiny is to sleep in the beds we make, and our descendants should not look upon our legacies with disappointment and disdain. They should know we laid the stones with respect for the past and for stewardship of the future.

The head and the heart began collecting stones long before the hands. This last day of the year I sit on a small boulder, chin resting on palms, meditating on coming days of slow and steady work. Even through scuffed leather the skin of the fingers has picked up a faint aroma of iodine and minerals. That scent itself a legacy of the sea just yards away, exhaling its spirit over the beach grass and stones. The cottage itself has been banked with samphire and laver around the base. An old tradition that still has its use even if only to comfort the mind with thoughts of stopping the wind. The waves whisper up the strand. Reaching out, I pick a stone and kneel to the new foundation.

This is what happens when the mind is given pause by deep shadows and short days. Human perception and language creates this border, this separation, this arbitrary terminus est at which the old gives way to the new. Things turn with the year. The hands grip stones, the weights of which inform the heart of desires and directions to feed and nurture through the passage of winter. Our foundations start here, setting stones on the last day of the year.

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"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...