Force of Nature

When I built this wall in Jamaica, Vermont, thirty-odd years ago, my concern for its longevity came out of its close proximity to the road. I expected  a car might back into it, or the snow plow jostle it. The notion that Ball Mountain Brook might one day destroy it never crossed my mind. But that’s just what happened a month ago when rain from Hurricane Irene turned the mild stream into a raging cataract. Brook waters tore away the bank, sweeping away not only a section of the stone wall but half the house, as well.

I give presentations about my work, and historic dry stone walls, to groups from time to time. A question  often asked by the audience is, “How long will a stone wall last?” My answer usually begins with, “It depends…” and goes on to catalogue factors that could influence a wall’s longevity. I guess I’ll have to put ‘hurricane destruction’ on top of the list from now on.

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2 Responses to Force of Nature

  1. Dan Snow September 30, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    As much as we like to try to keep things stable and in order, the longer a system remains static the more convulsive the disruption when it comes.Best to accept change as it happens and go with the flow.

  2. George Mora September 30, 2011 at 2:03 am #

    Among other things, the aftermath of the flood has been a study in the surrealism of things left behind. Exhibit #493: the cabinet still attached to the wall in the last photograph.

    Last year or so, our stoner friend Rob MacGregor laid some large steps going down the bank to the West River in South Londonderry village. Miraculously, they survived the deluge unscathed.

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