I used to work in landscaping. Somewhere within my Scandinavian DNA I knew a skill to artfully construct with rock existed, but I chose to stay far away from hoisting heavy rocks – that was hard work. Deadheading flowers was more my forte. I owned up to that, while understanding the real artists in the dry rock trade were hardworking crews comprised mostly of Mexicans.
That was my perspective as a landscape worker in Santa Fe. As I helped beautify countless homes and businesses, I acknowledged the foundation many of these structures had been built upon was rock, and that the identity they all shared was the beautiful and deliberate integration of rockwork into them.
The workers who labored on those projects have left, their work done, paychecks cashed – many mailed back to Mexico where their families reside – but not before these craftsmen turned thousands of scrambled rocks, many uplifted from the site grounds, into beautiful creations. Rock structures can represent the unique quality of the local area, breaths of fresh air within the imitation and compressed building material world we live in.
A rock worker sees within each stone and boulder its potential to fit within the larger picture of a pathway, wall, patio, step system, etc. Houses and buildings may one day crumble, but the carefully arranged rock constructions remain. I take a moment to salute our southern brothers, the quiet, steadfast artists – many long gone – whose sweat it took to make such enduring assemblies.
Spring is on its way, and rock crews are already out. As I drive around our beautiful city today, I marvel at what’s been painstakingly created in rock through the gifted hands and strong backs of our stone worker brethren.
Not many could handle this kind of labor, working in the elements ten months a year. It’s one thing to do it; another to do it so well. Thanks. Gracias. Bien hecho.