Kentucky is full of stone fences, otherwise known as rock fences or dry stone walls. It is claimed that we have more of them than any other place in the country. They are well documented in photographs, both beautiful and sobering all at the same time when you take into account the amount of man hours and skill that went into these structures.
I’ve heard about specific stretches of wall and read about others that also called them “slave walls” because they helped gather the stones for the building and the building technique was passed on to them from the Irish. As land was cleared across these regions, especially the Bluegrass, it is claimed that the stones found on the land were put to the purpose of building walls. Other walls are specifically built of quarried stone.
Some of these fences marked pastures to keep animals in. Others marked land boundaries to keep others out.
Irish immigrants are given credit for the design and “know how” of building these amazing structures – without mortar. Built in the 19th century, miles and miles of them still remain, but even so, one article I read says that is only 10 -15% of the original amount built.
Dry stone walls are not unique to the Bluegrass and other regions of Kentucky. It is just that there is reported to be more of them in this region than any other in the US. This type of wall without mortar has been used around the world and even the Incas left this type of structure behind. The Bible also makes reference to stoned walls.
II Chronicles 14:7 – For he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours because we have sought the LORD our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.”
Isaiah 58:12 -“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”
A footbridge is a wondrous thing. When I was small, they were very common in the hills of Appalachia. To get to many houses, we had to park our vehicle on the far side of the river and walk across a footbridge to get to the house.
My cousins always delighted in getting me in the middle of such a structure and bouncing or making the thing sway if they could. City raised as I was, the feeling of just walking above the water on such a flimsy thing was bad enough. to have someone making it move beneath my feet was terrifying. Sometimes there was a handrail or cable to hold onto, but at other times it was a matter of pure balance.
These little works of ingenuity are scarcely seen these days, but it somehow seems a loss. Each one was different, built out of necessity, but with the builders own sense of design.
One thing was for certain. Going across the footbridge was greatly to be preferred over wading through the creek or jumping from rock to rock to get across. Yet, as Christians, we so fear God’s plan for our lives being something undesirable that we would rather wade the waters of life by ourselves or hop from stone to stone rather than taking the clear and direct path that God has set before us.
Over the years I have learned that all goes much smoother when we put our trust in God’s plan for us and let Him direct our paths.
Isn’t it great when a rainbow appears and we are not expecting it? I took this photo at a splash park where my grandchildren were playing. When the sun hit just the right angle in the spray, a rainbow appeared!
Before the great flood and the rains of Genesis, the earth was watered more by natural condensation, fog, etc. than by rainstorms, some say. Imagine after being stuck on the ark for months and looking out to see a rainbow in the sky! It must have been awesome – the first rainbow seen by man.
Genesis 9:13 – ” I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”
Mya Angelou suggested that we try to be the rainbow in someone’s cloud.
Today camera took me to the top of a mountain to an old mining site that is inactive and uninhabited. We saw two separate groups of wild (or at least free range) horses. There are totally wild horses in the area, but I’m not certain about these. Perhaps they had been let out to graze freely through the summer.
Watching animals in their own habitat is something I love to do. This group of horses seemed to have divided themselves into two small groups. One group had a young colt. The other seemed to be made of “watchmen” who stayed apart, but were very watchful of everything that was going on.
We got to see the baby nursing and the others standing guard around the process. We watched as one took a dirt bath, trying to rid itself of tormenting flies. The two above were inseparable. The pale horse was always a couple of steps behind the white horse, always in his shadow, always nuzzling him and feeding close beside him in the tall grass.
The order of their steps and behavior was obviously instinctive and purposeful. yet there was no one there to lead them, teach them, or reward them. There was no one to put the bit in their mouth or bridle them. They behaved as if they had no care in the world except swatting their tails at pesky flies.
Even in the wilderness, God has placed the sense and skills these beautiful creatures need to survive and to exist together peacefully. I believe humans have the same God given abilities, but the free will to violate them resulting in selfishness and disharmony.
We could take a lesson from these horses in the wilderness and be at peace.
This week-end is our annual family reunion. This is only a portion of my mothers 16 siblings. Some have passed. Some were not able to make it to the last reunion when this photo was snapped. My dad’s family had 14 children. Both groups lost a couple of children in childhood.
My math was off, but when I was in grade school the teacher asked the class how many aunts and uncles we had. I figured 14 +16 = 30. And 30 plus their spouses would be 30 more. So my math came up to 60 aunts and uncles. It wasn’t too far from the truth.
They took the Bible literally when it advised to go forth and multiply. If you put both my mom’s and dad’s family together, plus each aunt & uncles children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, the numbers are hard to believe.
Our family members have scattered across the nation. Their careers are varied, and their impact on the world impossible to calculate.
When it comes to family reunions, it’s all relative!
I have been doing some cleaning lately, not only at home, but also helping a friend getting ready to move. Sweeping is essential to getting any house clean.
I have hardwood floors in about half of my house. It is amazing to me the amount of debris I can sweep up in my house every single day, or twice a day with only me in it. Where does it all come from?
I have decided that carpeted floors get the same amount of dust, lint, and other bits of debris, but they don’t always show up as much because they get down in the carpet fibers. It is possible to sweep hardwood floors clean, mop, dust, steam clean, or all of those and if a single person has been outside or in the basement, they will track particles back onto the floor with their shoes.
Our lives are like that with sin. We can repent before God and make things as right as we know how to make them, swept clean, but there will be little things that try to reattach to us at the first opportunity. Perhaps the debris that gets into our spirits is as small as an angry word, a scowl, repeating information about someone, or just neglecting to take time with God in each day. If we are diligent to sweep those things out on a daily basis, they don’t get out of control. If we fail to keep the cleaning process going, it doesn’t take long for the dirt to accumulate.
The Bible has something to say on almost any topic a person might imagine. There is a verse about brooms: Isaiah 14:23 says, “”I will turn her into a place for owls and into swampland; I will sweep her with the broom of destruction,” declares the LORD Almighty.”
I Peter 2:1 says, “So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk.”
We all have need of a good sweeping on a regular basis.
Being a daddy is a tough job. A family’s security an protection are found in the presence of a strong father who knows how to love those in his care.
Sons look to their fathers for wisdom and teaching about the hands on responsibilities of life. Sometimes dads fail. They don’t set good examples. They are self absorbed in their ambitions under the guise of being a good provider and lose sight of what’s most important.
To the sons of dads who let them down, I encourage you to be the one who breaks the cycle your father may have set before you in an unhealthy way. You don’t have to follow in your father’s footsteps. Learn from him – even if it means learning what mistakes to avoid. You will always only have one biological father, and so will your children.
Be the dad your sons can be proud of and the type of man your daughters will marry. Even when you don’t know it, they are watching you, learning from you, and trying to be like you. If your dad let you down, let that motivate you to be the dad who doesn’t.
When my son and grandson came to visit, my dad (Pappaw) decided they needed to plant some beans together in the garden.
I couldn’t help thinking about the laws of reciprocity and how we do reap what we so. In Appalachian speak, “If you plant beans, you don’t get taters. If you plant taters, you don’t get maters. You reap what you sew.”
Men, please remember that your sons and grandsons are watching you and following your cues about how to be a man. And your daughters will love you and try to find a man like you to marry. Are you the man you want your son to become? Are you the man you want for a son-in-law?
Women, are you teaching your daughters that a beautiful spirit is more important than physical beauty of the things she puts on? Are you teaching her to sexualize herself to draw attention from men? Is she going to grow up to be a good mother and wife? If she imitates you, will she be the wife you would want for your son?
Galatians 6:7 – 9 says:
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.