Over the past few months, I have taken quite an interest in hiking through the woods throughout the area. And in my travels, I have been coming across lots of bones scattered around.
No, I don’t mean bones of the human type or even animal bones, I mean the bones of man-made structures that have been lost and forgotten. Anyone who lives in New England and has spent any time looking into the woods, whether walking in them or driving by in a vehicle, has seen these bones. They are the stone walls and foundations crisscrossing our lands. You don’t need to travel far to find them. Some are easy to spot, some not so much, but they are there and it is fun and challenging to find them and determine what these bones belonged to.
Even stone walls have stories to tell. I would look at a stone wall and see a stone wall. They all looked like piles of rocks to me. Sure, there were some differences, some were higher than others, some had bigger rocks than others, some were in better shape than others, but they were just walls. Now that I know how to read them, each tells a story. Some were to keep things out, some were to keep things in. Some marked pastures, some marked wood lots. Some marked hay fields, some marked crop fields. Some lined roads, some were only for decorations. But they all have one thing in common, someone had to put in a lot of time and effort into building them.
Some estimate there are over 100,000 miles of stone walls in New England, about half as many as the estimate of 240,000 that once traversed the countryside. Many have been lost to builders and landscapers. That’s a lot of rocks. 240 million tons of stone. And this isn’t including the amount used in building foundations and other stone structures.
In this age when machines perform most of the physical labor we need, and we have become overweight and out of shape, one can certainly appreciate the work our forefathers had to do, not only to survive but to make our country great.
These stone walls and foundations were built by people who came to this country seeking a better life for themselves and their families. They were willing to do whatever it took to succeed as one can tell by looking at the work they did. When they needed to eat, they cleared fields. When they needed lumber they cut down the trees and built the sawmills needed to make boards.
But that was then and this is now. We have created a system where people don’t have to work. Whatever they want is giving to them. A system that once served a legitimate purpose, one that was made to help those in need get back onto their feet is now broken. Instead of helping people better themselves, it is rigged to keep them dependent on the government.
To be continued…