Apparently there is a fellow in the Hudson Valley who spends some time stacking rocks by the side of the road.
And he doesn't just stack rocks on each other; he will also stack rocks on tree stumps as needed.
Who is this mysterious man of mystery?
I have no idea, but a friend of mine says he's seen the man at work. In fact, those stacks of rocks were a good bit higher in the summer, but fall and winter weather have taken a toll.
To take a line from Weird Al, what on earth would make a man decide to do that kind of thing? Is it some kind of art project? A compulsion to impose neatness on a disordered world? Or just something to do while walking the dog?
My first thought was none of these; I wondered if he was a member of the Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things.
But I am informed that there may be a spiritual side to the practice; as a Baptist News writer says, "The spiritual practice of stacking stones claims ordinary moments of life for God and invites those who pass by to notice the holy ground on which they already stand."
And yet in today's world, it is impossible to do anything without pissing off somebody:
“It’s not one or two stacks. It’s when you come across an area, particularly in national parks, when there are dozens or hundreds. … The builders don’t necessary understand the landscape around them and don’t understand that others might be bothered by it. When you have one cairn it’s fine, but all the sudden you have 60 … you can be degrading habitat in that area. These fragile ecosystems are being harmed by this proliferation of stacking stone.”So the problem is one of volume, which I can understand; if one person stubs out a cigarette butt on my lawn today it's no big deal, but if a thousand people do it it's going to look a bit messy.
Besides, rock-stackers, other nature buffs don't want to see any evidence of you:
First, if they're set in a random place, they can lead an unsuspecting hiker into trouble, away from the trail and into a potentially dangerous place. Second, we go to wilderness to remove ourselves from the human saturation of our lives, not to see mementoes from other people's lives.I'm not going to wade into this rock-stacking controversy -- yay! Another freakin' thing to fight over! -- except to say that a world that has no place for the Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things is a world that's gotten much too serious.