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Behind the Grindstone: Walls

By Bill Bunting

March 1, 2024

I was spending some time wandering around a little canyon on the ranch the other day. Later I asked my dad who is almost one hundred years old about the old stone house. He said he knew nothing about the history of it. It was deserted and the roof gone when he was a boy. And yet the stones laid up in mud have stood for over one hundred years.

Silently it now stands
Each stone quarried by someone’s hands
And someone’s hands laid up the walls
I wonder who my spirit calls
But no answer comes to the cry I send
That’s blown about on the prairie wind
Four walls were laid all the same
A house of stone these stones became
Over the years the stories lost
Of who worked the stone and paid the cost
But my imagination seems to roam
Of the house of stone that became a home
A one room house or so it seems
The answer to a couple’s dreams
He’d quarried the rock with his own hand
And laid the walls as they had planned
He’d hauled the rock from a mile away
From daylight to the end of day
And dreamed of her with each rock he laid
And the plans together that they had made
And there it stood so long ago
Above the natural springs below
A house he’d built just for them
Nestled below the canyon rim
And she came from the east to join him there
To live the life and home they’d share
Now over a hundred years have come and gone
And I’m standing here looking on
The four walls of stone again
Wondering who and wondering when
These walls that were laid and still in place
Though the roof is gone without a trace
And the walls most buried now in sand
Blown from homesteaders plowing the land
But through all the years and changes made
The stones have stayed where they were laid
And now I stand here all alone
Wondering about this house of stone

At least, that’s the view here from behind the grindstone.

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