Old stones, holed stones, quartz stones, veined stones, green, grey and red stones, small stones, pebble stones, shingle stones, big stones, boulders, mountains and glacial erratics. Stones on the beach and the path, under my toes, dropped from the sky. Smooth stones, rough stones, wondrous stones, igneous stones, metamorphic stones. Stones from the Cambrian, the Ordovician, stones I found last week. Stones in my pocket, on the sill, stones by the door. Stones from Greece, the Hajars, from Harlech, and who knows where. Stones in the walls, the church, the mosque, the synagogue, the temple. A life, a civilisation of stones.
A straight road
Gravelly underfoot and scattered with puddles that reflect the sky, the straight road cuts through the hills. No one knows how old this road is. Perhaps the Romans built it, or peoples before them, or aliens in space-ships. All I know is that the road goes on for miles before turning a corner and snaking down the hillside and then it is not straight at all.
A field of sheep
A field of sheep from a distance looks like a small green square scattered with white stones. As I draw near, I realise the stones are moving and have four legs and two mild eyes and what I am looking at is a field of sheep. A field of sheep is a fine thing whether one likes mutton or warm woolly jumpers. Sheep may look docile and stupid but this is far from the truth. Indeed a field of sheep can reveal itself to be the answer to many of life’s important questions.
Stone walls can surround sheep, vegetables or grass. Here, in Wales, stone walls are grey from a distance. Close-up they are mottled with lichens in a variety of hues ranging from burnt umber, acid yellow to the palest of dove-wings. Stone walls are also home to many different mosses which can resemble green starry skies, carpets or the furs of animals. Sometimes trees grow in stone walls. Usually these are rowans but sometimes hollies, oaks, ashes and firs. Many creatures live in the cracks of the walls but most of these are hard to spot. There are mice too.