Our old stone wall

A picture of our old stone wall April 18, 2022

For 25 years, I’ve thought the stone wall in front of our house was “original”.

By that I mean the builder, a farmer by the name of John Hooker Dudley cleared the stones when he plowed his farmland and placed them with his own hands along the front of the property. And as it was done in those days, he built the wall without mortar.

That would have made this classic New England stone wall almost 200 years old. 

But I was wrong. Now I believe my wall is composed of Farmer Dudley’s original stones.  But the wall was built some time in the 20th century.

Why do I feel foolish? I have a photograph of the old wall (and my house) hanging in my hall.  This picture was taken around 1910 when my house was on an old dirt lane.  Oxen instead of trucks were common at that time.  And the house was surrounded by farmer’s fields.  I’m not sure when the dirt lane was paved but it was some time in the 20th century.

Our house circa 1910. 
Copyright Guilford Keeping Society.

Clearly the wall was moved and is significantly smaller.

I don’t feel foolish because a new wall was made out of old rocks. It’s the fact that this picture has been on my wall for 20 years, and I never noticed. Not until yesterday.

No doubt this is just one of the many details in my world that I’ve missed due to either ignorance or inattention.

Somehow I can’t help thinking that the more attention I give to the details of the world around me, the richer life would be.

Well this blog is a retirement blog. What does this have to do with retirement?

For the first time, I have the time to focus on the detail of the world around me. It’s a gift.

I feel so lucky and grateful to have the time and the good health to “see” after all these years.

Coming up: The story of New England stone walls.

Have you taken something for granted that you see day in and day out? What do you see if you look at it with fresh eyes? Where did all those extra rocks go?


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