Perhaps winter is a time of reflection because the ground is covered in reflective white. The earth and its stone is under a thick blanket of snow these days. The land is saying, "Let me rest." While I can't help think some about what's coming up in the months ahead, at this time of the year I do try to give pause, slow the rush of days, and take a look back.
A year ago I was on the book circuit with newly published "Listening to Stone." Many of the stops included my giving a slide presentation in front of a group. In Montpelier it was a plant club, in Rockingham a library group, a Traditional Building conference in Boston and a gang of professional wallers and dykers in England. By fall I'd sat down to chat with stone enthusiasts in bookstores, on a radio show, at a high school and at a county fair.
In between public speaking and book signing I squeezed in some walling work, doing retaining and free-standing walls in Marlboro and Dummerston. I turned my hand to carving marble for elements of a dry stone sculpture I installed on the grounds of a home in Connecticut.
There were DSWA craftsman certification tests in England, Canada and Vermont for me to examine, fourteen candidates in all. Instructing walling workshops occupied many weekends. Leading student groups in Newfoundland and Kansas for one and two week dry stone sculpture workshops gave me a chance to explore new ground, both figuratively and physically.
For me, the thing that stands out most about 2009 is that it was the first in my thirty-four year walling career that I didn't have a single "alone" job. In the past four years I've gone from working almost exclusively on my own to being one of a party of workers. I've become a producer/director. I guess you could say I'm following in the footsteps of my film-maker daughter, Angela. I couldn't ask for a
better role model.
A thousand thanks to all those who joined me in 2009, and allowed me to join them, in making hard labor light work.