Stone walls have always held a certain fascination. Even if it’s easy to see over them to the other side, there’s always the slightest promise that somewhere inside that border exists a Secret Garden, a Tarabithia, a Hogwarts, a Brigadoon, a magic princess or even a hobbit or two.
You’ll see stone walls running roadside on virtually any country drive through upstate New York. Often looking like little more than linear piles of stone, these “walls” were often erected by tossing stones along the property borders as new fields were plowed.
The perimeter of the hay fields at Beekman Farm were demarcated in this way over 200 years ago.
When we installed the heirloom vegetable garden we knew that we wanted to make our own permanent contribution to the landscape of the farm, so we asked our friend and neighbor, artist Michael Whaling, to help us in the construction of a rock wall.
But the wall had to be more than beautiful. It had to be functional, too. And like all great works of art, there had to be something unexpected.
Bird baths built into each leg of the wall.
There are two benches hidden in the interior of the wall so that we can have a rest if the chores becomes too strenuous or even if we decide to sit and watch the seasons languish on the garden. The benches were created using rocks that had been naturally shaped over hundreds of years in the bed of a local river.
No matter where in life you take up residence, whether it be for a day, a month, or many years, you will always leave a bit of yourself behind. The choice is yours whether it is something negative or something positive, but rest-assured that at some point in the future, someone will find that remnant of you.
A fossil found in one of the stones and the artist’s insignia on the cornerstone
Having watched the wall slowly emerge from a pile of rock over the last year, it reminded us that “built to last” is not an easy accomplishment. Rome was not built in a day, and neither was the great wall of Beekman.
Michael has created a book about his experience building the wall at Beekman Farm. You can purchase the book in our online store by clicking here