Ever since I saw the manmade stacks of rocks on my trip to Hawaii, ￼they seem to be popping up everywhere—including my house. Cairns, as they are known are created for various
reasons and have been used, quite possibly since prehistoric times.
In his book, ‘Cairns: Messengers in Stone,’ David B. Williams writes: “What’s more basic than a pile of rocks to communicate with others? … We’ve been doing this for thousands of years. Native cultures have used stone stacks for reasons both practical and sacred. They honor
deities, remember the dead. The human impulse to stack rocks is difficult to explain, but it’s real.
They are these most amazingly simple little structures that do carry so much meaning…They’re
pretty powerful.” Cairns mark trails, routes and vortexes, they communicate with the traveler.
Rocks are not only powerful, they can heal and calm. Our ancient ancestors were well aware of
the power of stones. From the magnificent structures they built to the simple but necessary act of
grinding corn and other grains, history is littered with how stones impact our lives.
Since my recent move to Las Vegas, I have been a bit discombobulated, actually quite a bit to be completely honest. In many ways I didn’t just move to a different house, I moved to
a different life.
All the comforts I had, the routines I created and the joy of seeing many of the friendly faces I encountered are gone.
The friendships I’ve built throughout my life are still there, of course and it’s times like these that I’m even more aware of how valuable they are.
Cairns have inspired me so much, I’ve built several of them in our new house. Seeing them on a daily basis is not only helping me heal, it’s helping to keep me calm—which I really need these days! They’re also a reminder of how people have revered stones and incorporated
them into their lives for many thousands of years. They make me realize that people have been
changing, growing and surviving through the most difficult of times.
They remind me that I will, too.
David B. Williams, ‘Cairns: Messengers in Stone, 2012