Image: Sudie Blanchard
The Old Stone Wall
I’ve been walking this old country road for nearly 50 years.
The stone wall beside the road has been here longer than that.
It hasn’t changed.
Season by season, the trees and underbrush have grown around it.
Spring brings fresh green growth and in fall,
asters grace the wall with purple.
Chipmunks, mice and other small creatures have made their homes
in the chinks and crevices of the old stone wall.
They have lived and died here.
But the lichen-covered stones themselves have stood solid.
Last week at sunset, I took a walk along this wall
and for the first time, I saw the graceful curve it made along the road.
I noticed anew the angle it made around a tree at one end.
The wall hasn’t changed, but I have.
I have walked by this wall countless times…
As a newlywed, hand in hand with my love..
As a young mother, toddler in one hand, stroller in the other.
Then, in what seemed no time, those babies became parents themselves,
and grandchildren skipped beside me on this road by the old stone wall.
Over the years, friendships have grown and developed here,
as I have shared this well-worn path with others.
This summer—a summer shadowed by pandemic and unrest—has been different.
This summer night, I walked alone by the stone wall—
there were no grandchildren, no visiting friends this time.
Even my love stayed home.
This summer, on the edge of “old” myself, I am seeing these old stones again,
but with new eyes.
As I walk by the old stone wall this time, it comes to me.
It’s not the only thing that I am seeing again, as if for the first time.
I am seeing many things with new eyes.
It’s a summer of unveilings.
And I wonder–Is this the beginning of wisdom?