When I go to the beach with my family, I tend to have a lot of time to myself in the mornings. I have never been able to sleep in past 5:30 which gives me 2 or 3 hours before anyone else starts to stir. This time is generally spent either going on a run or walking along the beach and taking photographs of anything interesting I happen to stumble upon.
However, on a recent week-long trip to the Oregon coast, I occupied myself for part of this time with an activity I have never tried before.
On my first morning, while I was walking on the beach, I came upon several towers of stacked stones. I have found these mysterious balanced rocks once before several miles to the south, along the coast (to see a post about these stacked stones, click here). Back then I remember wondering what would possess someone to spend so much time, pointlessly stacking rocks on one another.
But this weekend, I found myself considering how hard it must be to position stones in ways which surely must defy gravity. The next thing I knew, I was sorting through rocks, finding the perfect one to put on top of the one I had just placed.
My first stack took about five minutes to construct. I was amazed at how easy it was and how well it turned out. At that point I was hooked. It was like solving a puzzle with no right answer, but infinite possibilities. The goal, at least for me, was to make it high, give it an aesthetic quality, and build it with hidden stability, while making it appear as if it should topple at any second. I tried a couple more stacks that morning, and even went back the next morning to try a few more.
I have never known anyone who admitted to stacking stones. In fact I have never even seen anyone stacking stones before. Maybe that is what has given these piles of rocks such a magical quality, as if they had simply stacked themselves under the cloak of darkness, to mystify those who happen to walk by once daylight arrived.
It was not my purpose for beachcombers to marvel over my columns of stone, but I wouldn’t mind if a few vacationers stopped, scratched their heads and wondered, how is this possible?