Stones are unpolished gems, gems are polished stones. These are not the same thing.
The garden is a deeply, sensual experience, pungent smell of eucalyptus, fresh mulch, occasionally feint urine! It is tactile and rewarding, unyielding as well as fragile. The morning chorus serenades, and daylight’s first rays highlight shapes and textures all around me. And still, I taste the lingering coffee in my mouth…
Purple gloves better than fingers.
Stones are small, ROCKS are large.
The round ones roll… and roll… easily moving along the earth, unlike those of us with sharp edges that get caught on things.
The stones don’t stay where I toss them, or place them, they seek their own place. How human of them. No two are exactly the same, try though they might to be so.
Singly they can draw attention, preside. En masse they create driveways, castles, great walls, kingdoms and continents, planets.
My friend told me once ‘Alice has an endless supply of sticks’. But the supply of stones is infinitely more. It is that exactly.
What makes a good stone? Who can answer this? All beauty, strength and purpose is in the eye of the beholder.
Fingers better than purple gloves… sometimes.
These were some of my thoughts as I donned my purple gardening gloves to transform the edges of our driveway this week. An hour at a time was all my back and knees could handle. Each morning I raked out the stones from the edges, carefully, to leave the embedded ones for stability. Stone by stone I separated out four years of debris and put the stones back. The refuse was all organic and so went to compost and mulch…full cycle, and recycle.
The purpose of this seemingly useless task? It was twofold. The debris that gathers amongst the stones eventually fills up the cracks between them and covers them over. It hides their beauty, and also begins to spill onto the driveway, making it difficult to see the edges when we are driving the car in and out. The driveway is rather steep, so this matters from a practical standpoint. And the beauty forthcoming is self evident.
Some of the large rocks that create the structure of the driveway are but the tips of the bedrock our house and our neighbourhood is built upon. They were never going to move, so we added to them and created our rock garden, edging the driveway. With fresh mulch and a trimmed branch here and there, I think it now looks like it has had a facial and a haircut, don’t you? And perhaps a strand of stone pearls to set it off…
Pablo Neruda inspires me with his poetic essay ‘Some Words for a Book of Stone’
It is the poet who must sing with his countrymen and give to man all that is man: dream and love, light and night, reason and madness. But let’s not forget the stones! We should never forget the silent castles, the bristling, round gifts of the planet. They fortify citadels, advance to kill or die, adorn our existence without compromise, preserving the mysteries of their ultraterrestrial matter, independent and eternal.