fdelano Posted January 22, 2013 Share Posted January 22, 2013 Retaining A stroke of luck in hard times, the new owner of an ancient home wants all stone walls repaired, a skill possessed by few men in the valley, the best unschooled except for his hands and the past. He began with a still sturdy old base, except for a few failings where runoff water had made holes as the ground shifted. The same old rock still grew from the ground, providing perfectly weather-worn stones to fit the wall—now his wall. The old man worked on no schedule except one set by the task, understood with a handshake over details of the deal. The new owner wanted the past recovered and the stone man knew what that meant, having worked these bulks and the earth for all of his years since the Great Depression. Two days of searching and hauling in his wheelbarrow brought the fillers to solidify the base. No cement, the stones melded to leave little space for movement, held by friction and gravity with maximum surface contact. Perfect vertical backing checked and rechecked as the stones took their place, to settle over the coming years. The craftsman wore no gloves, his callused hands relishing the heft and roughness, the feel of dirt. Larger stones find their places in the front and bottom as the wall grows to its former shape with the same materials from the nearby world. Stakes and strings help keep the wall even and vertical. The stone worker gives no thought to pleasing the owner, but pleasing his sense of art. Long rocks set into the wall to help hold it together, and heavy ones cap the level top. He digs a drainage ditch on the uphill side and fills it with stone rubble to carry the rain to the tile drainage pipes, replaced after more than a century.Three months later, he stands back to assure the proper width, level to the eye and pleasing. He will watch the wall through the years as he and his construction ages. He and the wall will stand firm without any other choice. The owner will also admire through the years and congratulate himself for having found the bare hands artist whom he knows was underpaid, not knowing that the old man had grown rich on the job. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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