Rocks of Ages Redefined

If there is one elemental resource we can count on in this region, it is rocks. Our practical forebears cleared them laboriously from the land, by hand and with horse…

June 21, 2007 | | Back Issues

If there is one elemental resource we can count on in this region, it is rocks. Our practical forebears cleared them laboriously from the land, by hand and with horse power, and used them to build their homes, fences and barn foundations.

Now, as the old barns crumble and former farmlands are “gentrified,” those rocks are being restored as centrepieces of the countryside. Tralee Pearce interviews several landowners who have paid homage to those historical remnants by reinventing them as landscape accents or incorporating them into contemporary buildings.

In a tribute to an even more ancient tradition, and with the approach of the summer solstice, Michele Green visits several owners who have created stone circles, the old world calendars that mark the annual passage of the sun and stars and purportedly concentrate the earth’s positive energy.

And stone circles are not the only tribute to the mysticism of the ancients that are finding their way into landscapes of our new age. Labyrinths and mazes are also turning up in Headwaters gardens and meadows, not only for their entertainment and aesthetic value, but in some cases, as a tool for spiritual renewal. Walking the circular path to the centre of the labyrinth, says Anglican priest Penny Lewis, is “a form of meditative prayer.”

Also on that theme, Tony Reynolds visits Erin artist Paul Morin. His paintings and music are inspired by his travels among the world’s aboriginal peoples, his efforts to attune to their deep traditions, and his own acute observations of nature.

On a lighter, but still historical note, Jeff Rollings previews the High Country Antique Power Show. He sits down for a long chat with collectors about their obsession with old tractors and antique engines – some of them own dozens of the grand old machines. It becomes apparent that it is not just the mechanics that fascinate them, but the link with a way of life that is fast disappearing.

That same nostalgic link to the region’s farm roots is what has inspired the Mono heritage committee to undertake an inventory of the town’s still-standing, original barns. As Tralee Pearce relates, many of them are no longer in active service, but are still loving maintained by their owners. And with that, this issue too comes full circle.

About the Author More by Signe Ball

Signe Ball is publisher/editor of In The Hills.

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