CHANGING COURSE BEGINS WITH A GREAT IDEA

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What Do You Love To Do?

The last few weeks in western Massachusetts can be summed up in one word – RAIN!

It’s been rain, rain, followed by more rain. Yes, it’s been dreary. But just as in life, more often than not there is a silver lining.

For starters, all that rain has made everything so lush! “Lush” is one of those fabulous sounding words that seems so perfectly suited to its meaning.

Rain also brings out the natural beauty and texture of stones. A stone you’d never notice when dry positively glistens when it’s wet.

And if you’ve been to my house you know I’m a compulsive rock hound.

For the last five years or so, I’ve been dragging home rocks of all sizes. Some are from local streams, including the brook that runs in front of my house.

Other rocks have come from as far away as Arizona, California, and Vermont. (More than one ticketing agent has said, “What do you have in this suitcase – rocks?”)

The purpose of all this collecting was to ultimately have enough to build a dry stone wall along the walkway to my front door.

I was inspired by a 2007 segment on CBS Sunday Morning about Martha’s Vineyard “stone artist” Lew French. It took him a year to build a three-story wall and one of his more ambitious jobs cost his client $300,000.

I’m not the only one fascinated by dry stone walls. Another resident of Martha’s Vineyard named Mariana Cook became so hooked that she put together a book called “Stone Walls: Personal Boundaries.”

The book combines essays by farmers, historians and an archaeologist to explore the history of dry stone walls in different countries. It’s also an inspiring example of what can come out of following a passion – in Cook’s being featured in the New York Times.

So after admiring the remarkable images in Lew’s book Stone by Design for the last five years, at long last, and with considerable help from my friend Tina, I finally got a solid running start on building my own dry stone wall.

This shot was snapped just after a heavy rain.

There’s still a lot of work to be done before I come even remotely close to the artistry of Lew French. But then I’ve got the rest of my life to perfect my wall… And for now I’m loving every minute of it.

What do you love to do?

Finally a special thanks to all of my friends and family who joined me this past week for my first book reading at Barnes & Noble in Holyoke Massachusetts. Your support means so much to me!

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