Stone Stories

slice of life updated


Sometimes I will be walking along, minding my own business, and something will catch my eye. And then I can’t stop wondering about it. That is what happened when I saw this yesterday morning.

stone stories 1

Small stacks of stones, tucked in and around a carved out coral ledge. Lots of them. Some comprised of three stones, others had as many as five. The biggest stones at the bottom, smaller ones on top. Who put them there? What do they mean? How has a pounding rain or high surf or heavy wind not toppled them? For twenty four hours I’ve been imagining stone stories. Perhaps there is a meaning that everyone else knows. I am not going to search Google to find an answer because I rather like the theory I’ve settled on. I think each of these stacks was put there by couples who are building a life together. I think they symbolize the start of a solid foundation. Don’t tell me if I’m wrong.

8 thoughts on “Stone Stories

  1. A cairn is a human-made pile (or stack) of stones. The word cairn comes from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn [ˈkʰaːrˠn̪ˠ] (plural càirn [ˈkʰaːrˠɲ]).[1] Cairns have been and are used for a broad variety of purposes, from prehistoric times to the present.

    A cairn to mark a mountain summit in Graubünden, Switzerland
    In modern times, cairns are often erected as landmarks, a use they have had since ancient times. However, since prehistory, they have also been built and used as burial monuments; for defense and hunting; for ceremonial purposes, sometimes relating to astronomy; to locate buried items, such as caches of food or objects; and to mark trails, among other purposes.

    Cairns are used as trail markers in many parts of the world, in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, as well as in barren deserts and tundra. They vary in size from small stone markers to entire artificial hills, and in complexity from loose conical rock piles to delicately balanced sculptures and elaborate feats of megalithic engineering. Cairns may be painted or otherwise decorated, whether for increased visibility or for religious reasons. An ancient example is the inuksuk (plural inuksuit), used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. Inuksuit are found from Alaska to Greenland. This region, above the Arctic Circle, is dominated by the tundra biome and has areas with few natural landmarks.


  2. Out of confusion we seek meaning Lisa. The curious learner in you has risen to the surface in this speculative piece. The world presents us with mysteries and we must be prepared to ponder. Thank you for the timely reminder.


  3. I can give you one explanation (so don’t read on if you want to stick with your own!) In Canada, these are known as Inukshuk. Indigenous people built them to mark paths leading to friendly territory, good hunting grounds, and safe places. They are typically built to resemble people though, if you can find a flat, long rock to use for arms. The ones you have shown are more commonly called cairns and served the same purpose. Now, if you are ever driving in Ontario at least, you will see many on the side of the road. People pull over and build them for fun and tradition.


  4. I saw stone towers for the first time this summer on Door County in WI while there on vacation. We built a few too. I did look it up on google but cannot remember what it said was the meaning behind them. I like your version better. Glad I can’t remember.


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