Rocks that speak




In my top dresser drawer — you know, the one that collects stuff like tie tacks and Chucky Cheese tokens and old campaign buttons — is a hunk of sandstone. It’s the sort of thing that will puzzle my survivors some day when they are cleaning out my stuff. “Why in the world did he keep this?” For the record, it’s a fragment of the fireplace from a house where I lived for some of the more liberated years of my youth. It was a house that I helped build and one that was burned down by an arsonist. While poking through the ruins, there was nothing else to salvage, so I took home a rock, a symbol of permanence. It’s a rock with a story. I bet you have a rock or two like that. Or maybe a few hundred, like Lawrie and Carol Barr of Francestown. I was their guest recently. I’d been invited to help judge the 2004 Francestown Labor Day Parade, and they prepared an amazing lunch. (Actually a neighbor/chef from the Monadnock School of Natural Cooking and Philosophy volunteered to whip up a little Teppanyaki beef and peach-pear torte for the judges.) Later, Carol showed me around the house and yard and pointed out the stone borders on the flower beds. “Cobblestones from Brooklyn,” she noted. “They were salvaged when they tore out the asphalt on some old city streets.” Local businessman John Kaufhold, owner of Peterborough Marble & Granite Works, bought a large quantity of them. It turns out that they were quarried just a few miles away in Fitzwilliam. I told Carol and Lawrie about the retaining wall in front of my family’s home. It’s composed of blocks of New Hampshire granite that once made up the walls of the grand old Concord Train Station before it was torn down for an urban renewal project. My wife’s grandfather even saved enough of them to make a little patio. A friend in Bow, Eric Anderson, has rocks in his garden that are fragments of a granite pyramid that once stood on a nearby hilltop, the birthplace of Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science. The pyramid was eventually blasted with dynamite when the church determined the monument to be a bit excessive, and a tad weird. Unfortunately, Eric can no longer be sure which of the rocks in his garden are the ones with such a glorious and violent history, but it still adds a little mystique to his landscaping. Being the Granite State, New Hampshire has lots of rocks, and has spread this wealth all over the world. Who knows how many stories in distant lands are engraved in stone from our granite hills. Did you know that the Smithsonian Institute and the cornerstone of the United Nations building are both made of New Hampshire granite? So, as you go forth to admire fall’s beauty and hear the whisper of the wind in the leaves, consider the stone walls and rocky soil as well. Maybe you’ll hear a different kind of whisper, telling the stories of ages past and ages to come, stirring up from the living rock beneath your feet. And maybe you’ll bring home a small stone or two. Just to remember.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. Winter Fun on the Lakes
    Our iconic summer destinations — the Lakes Region and Lake Winnipesaukee in particular —...
  2. Where to Find Poutine in NH
    We're not just talking about traditional poutine. Our intrepid Cuisine Editor went on the hunt...
  3. More and more seniors are going mobile
    You can take it with you after all, just as long as your recreational vehicle is your house
  4. The Man Who Mapped NH's White Mountains
    Bradford Washburn — renowned explorer, pioneering cartographer and mountain photographer —...
  5. How To Organize and Get Rid of Clutter
    The new year is a great time to tackle the clutter in your home. Here are some easy (and thrifty)...
  6. Zach Harvey the Man Behind the Bitcoin ATM
    Manchester, NH's Zach Harvey, along with his brother Josh, created the company Lamassu, which...
  7. Skiing, Cooking and Winter Fun in the White Mountains
    Good food and good skiing — what better combination for a wintry weekend in the White Mountains?
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags