Laying Stones on a Sunday Afternoon

imageYesterday my husband and I went to the garden center to buy stones to place around the patio on our little courtyard for drainage. We had looked all over to find stones we liked and had finally found some river rock at this particular landscape center. We brought in two containers to collect our stones, a large bucket and an old recycling bin. I told my husband I would fill up the bucket and he could take care of the other container. The pile of stones was like a mountain, and I carefully sorted through them, looking for ones whose shape and color and size I liked. Meanwhile, George kept scooping up handful after handful and throwing them in the blue bin until he had all he could carry. He laughed at me, goodnaturedly, and made some comment about me searching for the perfect stones.

When we got home and unloaded the rocks, my husband said he needed to go to the hardware store to pick up a few things. I told him I would stay home and get started on placing the stones around the patio. It was a tedious task, picking out stones that would fit tightly together, not leaving too big of a gap between them. I would pick out a stone, place it in the sand, then pluck it out again when it didn’t seem to fit just right. I thought of Christ’s words, reminding his listeners of the Scripture that said, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

imageSlowly and painstakingly, my little row of river stones began to come together, and I could picture the torrent of rainwater that would rush over them during the next rainstorm, just as a river once did, making their rough surfaces smooth. Again, I thought of the Scripture in 1 Peter, “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.” I was glad that I had stayed behind to do this task because, judging from the way my husband had gathered these rocks, I was sure he would not have been so careful placing them.

The longer I worked with the stones, the more I reflected on them. They reminded me of how my mother used to love jigsaw puzzles. She was a genius at being able to look at a piece and knowing just where it would fit. I thought about how these stones were like the years of our lives, fitting together in a pattern, maybe a little messy, but strong nonetheless.

By the time George came home, I had nearly finished placing all the rocks in my bucket. He saw my masterpiece and said “Looks nice, honey.” Then he picked up the big blue recycling bin and dumped out his pile of stones in the area I hadn’t reached yet. No picking, no planning, no pattern. Dang! I liked his better! And another quiet moment of reflection shot to pieces.image

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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21 Responses to Laying Stones on a Sunday Afternoon

  1. winsomebella says:

    Slow and steady or slap-dash—–it’s pretty!

  2. Your solitude and thoughts were wonderful and just what I needed to read tonight. Sometimes it is the quiet creativity that comes from choosing carefully what comes next. Other times there is a surprise of beauty and accomplishment when things are just dumped on us. Great lesson here. As the pastor of our church would say, “That’ll preach!” thanks! DAF

  3. I would be following in your foot steps carefully picking out stones and trying to piece them together into a perfect mosaic while my hubby would just dump them out like yours. Either mode of operating always seems to work out okay though, doesn’t it? I loved reading about your reflections while you worked. 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      They both did look nice, Mama, but George’s was certainly quicker and actually left fewer gaps. But I would have missed out on my reflection time if I had done it his way.

  4. Jiawei says:

    I like the quiet reflection and contemplation while working with your stones. It’s like a work meditation done while doing any of the simple everyday tasks, such as cleaning, washing and ironing, etc. Your work looks great! And I admire your patience.

    • Coming East says:

      I need to remember to take the time to meditate when I’m doing daily tasks, Jiawei. It’s a good use of time and would make my chores more enjoyable. Good idea.

  5. pattisj says:

    A quiet moment of reflection is never wasted. I think both are beautiful.

  6. Huffygirl says:

    Men! That is exactly what would have happened at my house. Probably both your ways are right though.

    If you ever get the chance to visit Lake Michigan (I know you will because I keep reminding your about it) you’ll probably enjoy walking along the beach and looking at/picking up stones. I walk over thousands of stones, but every now and then one stands out and catches my eye, and i can’t resist picking it up.

  7. Amy says:

    Perfection is scary… I’d do like George did 🙂

  8. lulu says:

    I guess it all goes to show that random selection has a place in an ordered world. It seems you got what you wanted with both approaches.

  9. Al says:

    I think George was out getting the “other” kind of stoned.

  10. What a nice job you both did. I rather like your carefully placed stones. You’re building character and memories in your new home.
    We have rock on one side of our patio. They are larger stones from the hill country. When we move, Rick says he’s taking them with us. I wonder what the new owners would say when they see a blank spot by the patio?

    • Coming East says:

      Love that you carefully chose your stones, too, Georgette. We started by only getting rocks from the beach (my header for this post is a picture of just beach stones), but our beaches here have almost no stones. The ones we have we’re all brought back from New England. We only had enough beach stones for about a foot and a half of border. Your mention of the hill country was a heart tug for me. Miss that area so much.

  11. Dianna says:

    That’s the way it works out sometime! But, working patiently with YOUR stones gave you plenty of time to think….and that’s always a good thing! Looks great. We used that same color rock in some areas around our flower beds.

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