1 min read

Chaos + Order: What Drystone Builders Bring into the World

I believe we, drystone builders, play a critical role in today’s world. Chaos swirls all around the globe along with its ever-present partner, uncertainty.

Those of us who design and build spaces, projects, or features with stone and the drystone method create order and certainty, thereby eliminating chaos and uncertainty in that particular physical space.

In our craft, some form of chaos always precedes creation. In the beginning, our work sites are organized in our minds but are absolute chaos to anyone else. Stone, as a building material, is a form of certainty. Built correctly, a drystone structure can last for thousands of years. What else that humans build can make this claim?

We who build with stone and the drystone method are a very lucky group of men and women. While chaos and uncertainty grow every day all around the world, we do our work atop the certainty of the physical earth and cut, shape, split, texture, or set stones into place with a specific intention, following the old, sacred drystone rules. When we complete our work, we leave behind order and certainty for others to experience for generations to come.

While most humans’ thoughts are wracked with anxiety and fear at this very moment, a drystone builder is required to focus his or her thoughts on a specific intention and then, using his or her body, hands, and tools bring the intention into physical form and build something beautiful, the antidote for all the ugliness around us.

Amongst all of the chaos, uncertainty, and ugliness, we are also witnessing the disappearance of standards. This current state of affairs presents an enormous opportunity for those of us who design and build with stone. While standards are dropping, it seems to me that this is the perfect time to raise the standards; understand the bigger purpose for which we exist; and be committed to bringing order, certainty, and beauty into the lives of humans thirsty for these virtues.

With regards to standards (similar to the old, sacred drystone rules) I love this quote I heard DJ Shipley, a former member of Seal Team 6, say on a podcast. He was discussing the level of capacity that elite military units maintain and he said this: “A standard becomes a standard until someone exceeds it. When the collective exceeds it, it becomes a dynasty.”

So, now and into 2024 is the perfect time to create a new dynasty within the drystone design and build community.



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