In Case of Fire... Rock on

Rock On
The "conflagration" which is what I am now calling the fire at the Nitram factory, had overwhelmed me - psychologically and even physically. I did not feel inspired to paint or draw or even doodle. These sort of events are life changing. I needed a diversion. Something to focus my mind and body on. Several years ago we had a concrete walk way put in along the side of the house. It is about 35 feet long and about 8 feet wide. Because that part of the house faces the South, Pat uses this area to grow tomatoes in pots. Big delicious heirloom tomatoes that taste ridiculously good. Anyways, there is a narrow strip on the opposite side of this walkway. It is about 18 inches wide and it gets very little sun. At first, I had the landscapers put down plain gravel. A kind of throw away feature that you ignore in lieu of delicious tomato satisfaction ;-). However, after a while it started to bug me. One day, I scooped out the gravel and replaced the entire strip with lovely fist sized pink smooth rocks. I selectively gathered these from the nearby beach while doing my twice daily walk with Ollie (our Rat Terrier). I brought them all back in my knapsack. It took several months to complete as I can only carry so much. It looked good. I had pink rock satisfaction. Then, the following Spring, I thought it all looked kind of tiresome. The rocks were regular. They looked ho-hum. William Hazlitt said it well "Though familiarity may not breed contempt, it certainly takes the edge off admiration". So I decided that the pink stones were good but, maybe size variety would do the trick - after all, size can matter... Bigger pink rocks would do the trick. A variety of pink rock sizes will spice up the walk way. So I scooped up the unsatisfactory pink rocks from the walkway and took them back to their lake front residence. Bigger pink rocks were needed. Larger more substantial big rocks were required. My ambition knew no bounds but, my back did. Some weighed close to 50lbs! Quite the workout, but worth it. It looked good for a while... A couple of weeks ago while walking Ollie along the beach and musing on the nature of fire and how unfair it can be, I noticed these beautiful black egg shaped stones. Wow - black granite with varying degrees of white and sparkly specks. These oblong, egg-shaped, ovaloid, oviform and even elliptical little darlings fascinated me. I put a few in my pocket to muse over and went back to the house. Pat wondered if I was happy to see her ;-) I took out a few small pink stones and replaced them with my new found black stones. Wow interesting stuff. Then it hit me. A pink valley of giant cliffs with a black river running through it. YES! More black stones came up from the beach AND I needed more large pink rocks for my cliffs. Before long it looked like a Japanese "kasansui". The term comes from an ancient Japanese word which implies that the garden feature should be viewed as symbolic rather than representational. Sounds like painting styles to me. Anyways, I was thrilled with the result. Now, when I walk by, I feel like a bird flying over the valley. I can hear the water rush through this creation. I continue to find more fascinating black stones and replace the less desirable ones I strung a bunch of pictures together to give you a sense of the valley. Did you notice the upwelling? No man can ever live with the same river twice. It's never the same rock and I continue to be not the same man. So just Rock On! ~ Jerzy Niedojadlo
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