Stone Walls

Stone-fence-and-treesStone wall, Washington, Connecticut © Steven Willard

Whenever I see a well maintained stone wall I am reminded of the first time I read the Robert Frost  poem “Mending Wall”.* I don’t remember how old I was, but I think I would have been in about the ninth grade. I wonder if it’s still taught in school these days. The irony was not lost on me even then that we were reading this poem about New England stone walls while living in south Texas where stone walls were a rarity; barbed wire fence was a lot more likely. Now, fifty years later I find myself passing stone walls whenever I go for a drive. They are dry stacked; mortar being hard to mix in the middle of a field, and besides the dry stack lets the  wall flex with the heave of frost. The problem is that it requires  periodic maintenance; walking the line of the wall and putting the fallen stones back in place.

This wall in Washington now only serves to mark the boundary between the roadway and a lovely copse of pine trees, but any drive through the countryside reveals  old walls that snake off into the woods marking old fields, long overgrown, where farmers once worked to clear the stones that turned up every spring with the thaw. The penalty for not clearing the stones could have been a broken plow or a lame draft animal.


Pentax K5IIs with 70mm lens. processed in Photoshop CS4 and convert to black and white in Nik Silver Efex Pro2.


8 comments on “Stone Walls

  1. Mike Crape says:

    Great image and words, perfect post to start my Monday. Thanks


  2. Donald P. Hassinger says:

    Another great photo! New Englanders truly appreciate these old walls. Your old friend, Don


  3. kitt says:

    Love it, thank you.


  4. Thank you for you interest.


  5. Wow, could be Scotland……and a perfect, slightly misty moment to capture the light through the forest trees.


  6. nikkorbacher says:

    I like how you shot right down that alley of aligned trees (plantation grown?).
    I think it was Scott Nearing, who I read back in the 70s, who said never return from a field without collecting a load of rocks along the way.


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