Stone Circle


Not long ago, I came across this series of photographs in which someone had constructed a series of stone circles on the sand of a beach. Some of these circles were made of smooth, round stones. Some were made of jagged, saw-toothed stones. Some were made of small stacks of stones.

All of them were profoundly soothing to the eye. I imagined they must have been very meditative to make: finding the stones, arranging them just so seemed like a work of patience and focus that I imagined to be very relaxing.

In our back yard, there was a scattering of smooth, gray river-rocks left over from some previous attempt at landscaping. For the most part, they had disappeared into various flower beds and crevasses beside the back sidewalk, but it occurred to me that if I collected enough of them I might be able t make a small stone circle of my own. Why not? It’s not like they were being used for anything else.

I didn’t have enough stones- or space- to make a large circle, so I figured I’d start with something small: a modest circle around one of my new rosemary planting. None of the stones actually matched: the largest was the length of my palm while the smallest was about the size of a lima bean, so I decided I would make the circle go from smallest to largest.

I had about enough stones for two-thirds of a circle.

Day by day, I managed to uncover more stones: both in the backyard as well as found along my running route. My goal became to bring home one new stone each time I ventured out, and last night, at last, I managed to complete my first circle.

It’s pretty humble, but I’m pleased with it.

I think maybe the most satisfying part of this project was the slowness of it: with life being so complicated these days it’s easy to feel like the world is standing still and nothing is getting Done. But at the same time, it was edifying to see that by making one small contribution towards this goal every day I was able to complete the circle.

There are so many Little Things that I often gloss over in my everyday life that I’m now beginning to realize are of utmost importance towards living well. In the bright light of Constant Urgency it was easy to overlook things like Going Outside Everyday or Spending Time Around Plants or Playing With Colors or Getting Horizontal for Fifteen Minutes In The Afternoon could make such a difference to my sense of satisfaction until life slowed down enough for their effects to accumulate.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on April 2, 2020.

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