Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Cairn Surprise

Something I like to do is build cairns. I got my husband into too. For those who may not know what a cairn is, it's basically a pile of rocks. But it's a pile of rocks that you have deliberately piled. Cairn building requires a certain amount of fondness for rocks. The more fond of rocks you are, the more the "right" rock will call to you. "Pick me, pick me! I'm the rock you need! I'll work perfectly for that spot." It's uncanny how often the chosen rock truly IS exactly what you need.

I learned about cairn building from a very sweet movie with Brandon Fraser called Still Breathing. (If you haven't seen it, I recommend it.) I think there's a zen thing that goes on. It's a kind of awareness between, me, the earth and the rocks. Building cairns is a way of saying prayers. It's relaxing. It's an art form.

Cairns, like sandcastles, are ephemeral. They may last a little longer, but they will eventually fall down. No matter how you try you can never build the same cairn twice, even using the same rocks.

Historically cairns were simple piles of stone that marked a path so those who followed after would know they were going in the right direction. On a larger scale, Stonehenge is a kind of cairn.

Here are a few pictures of cairns hubby and I have built.

The other day my sweetie saw this on one of the cairns. She stayed put long enough for him to dash home and get the camera.
What have you seen/experienced lately that was an unexpected surprise?


  1. we build cairns in the bush to mark the tracks :) I always hated doing it as a kid cause it seemed every rock I picked up had a GIANT water spider underneath - scared me silly ;p

  2. I used to do this, build cairns, when I lived back home but never knew what they were for, or what they were called. I always just thought they were "rock formations" or rock castles - b/c we lived on the beach we built sand castles too.

    Beautiful pictures Bish.

  3. I have both seen and participated in cairn building a little. I always thought it was a part of mountaineering, as you tend to see them on top of high peaks. Usually these are just small piles of rocks stacked on top of each other, sometimes sheltering log books of hikers who have been there before.

    These cairns you show are much more elaborate, and much cooler.

    A cairn can also sometimes signify a grave, right?

  4. Oooh, fun! Both my kids simply adore rocks! They would love to build cairns.

  5. Oh, I love these. She puts her boots on to hunt for rocks. :)

    I saw a baby deer eating out of a man's hand as I drove by. It was lovely, Bish. The mama was probably dead and the deer was that hungry. :)

  6. Beautiful. Like rangoli ... I'll write you privately.

  7. I never knew cairns had a name!

    There are lots of them in the hills by my father's house. They definitely stand out because they're obviously deliberate, but beautiful.

  8. I would love to find something like that while I was out walking. How fun!


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!