Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Thematic Photographic 25 (but with some thoughts this time).

This post has taken quite a while to compose. In fact the roots of it go back to August when I took the photograph, or perhaps even further into my past. When Carmi posted the theme for this week's challenge I knew exactly what I would choose: one of the dozen or so pics I captured of this wall while waiting for Jessie to be dropped off after school.

Having spent some time traveling in the western North Carolina mountains I'm quite used to seeing this type of rock (mostly granite) quarried, cut, and sitting in storage yards waiting for transport. The granite north of the Carolinas' border is much more colorful than the rock in the southern portion. That aggregate stone is mixed with other hardened minerals, crystals, and even gems to create a palette ranging from blues, pinks, and even reds. It's no wonder that those stones have occasionally caught my attention.

The rock wall that drew my attention is fairly new. In fact if you look close enough you can see traces of the red mud that it sits upon due to the masons handling the stones in rainy weather. Honestly I have seen better, much more architecturally and aesthetically pleasing walls. But for some reason this particular wall one hot summer afternoon "spoke" to me. I spent time studying the jagged edges, the rough exterior texture, and how smaller broken pieces of the whole filled in the gaps between larger semi-whole rocks. You see, every one of those rocks are actually broken. Each one of them cut with little regard for their shape or appearance from the interior of some distant mountain. And here in my community they were brought and reconstructed to serve as a barrier between me and my neighbors.

Obviously a couple of analogies come to mind. Pink Floyd's The Wall will no doubt be one of the first for those of us in our 40s. In fact the mere mention of a barrier between myself and those folks living on the other side of the wall hearkens back to the album's theme: isolation. For Christian readers, you might make a connection with the Biblical correlation of God being a potter. In this case God could be a sculptor or even more appropriate, the weather, atmospheric, and geological conditions that shape or reshape the rock.

I guess my thinking is that each of those stones represents one of us, born out of the same aggregate material. Some of us have jagged edges that can abrade others to silt. Some have rough exteriors perhaps harboring a precious gem inside. All of us are of different colors, hues, tints, saturation, and lightness. We are all flesh and blood. We are all broken in some way, shape, and form.

Being broken is not such a bad thing. When we lose a piece of us we might never know how that fragment may be used. Has it plugged a hole in a leaking emotional dam? Has it become a part of the mortar that solidifies protection from fear? Has it helped construct a foundation where there was no structure? Most of the time we will never know the where, when, how, or why of those fragments. We only know it is so very painful to have parts of the core of our soul chipped away or in some cases, smashed by a huge iron ball.

I do know that tonight as I write this there are some very dear friends who feel broken beyond recognition. They feel splattered like a grape in a wine press. I want to say to them and every one of you reading this: you have been and will remain a part of my foundation. I won't lie to you and say each of our paths are a nice little skip over to the place where granite monuments, memorials, or even grave stones are cut. Some of us weren't meant for that. But there will come a day when you find out how all those fragments, the pieces of you, fit together to make us all better as a whole.

Note: I sort of missed last week's deadline so here is the link for this week.


Vodka Mom said...

I love this post. I have always felt that the grief and pain that have woven themselves through my life, have made me the person I am. WIthout those experiences, I could not love life the way that i do.

great, great post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bennie.

That was beautiful.

You are part of my foundation too. You and your family.

Much love from this broken stone.

we_be_toys said...

This was beautiful, poetic, and insightful.
I hope my edges never are too rough for others!

Unknown said...

Amazing post.