Stone by Stone

Stone-LacingThe sound a hammer makes when it strikes a steel chisel is unique—it’s a dull, metallic, muffled clang as the chisel bites deeper into stone or mortar. As I rounded the corner of the country studio, I heard the familiar sound, then caught sight of the hammer swinging high and squarely driving the chisel a fraction of an inch deeper.

Dario, the young stonemason in the dusty black T-shirt, struck deliberately into the old wall joints, squinting for protection at each commanding hammer strike. As cracks appeared, he pried, rocked, and dislodged the next stone and lifted it away from its stronghold.

We had felt limited by the wall—though admirably sturdy and well-built, it nevertheless blocked us, closed us in; or perhaps it was a sense that something was being kept out. In any case, we decided to take it down, let in light, open the view, and connect to the countryside that rolled into the distance on the other side. Stone by stone, the wall came down and let us see the landscape washed by the sun-filled morning. It was so surprisingly open that we felt exposed and vulnerable at first, but exhilarated by the expansive view.

That experience helped us realize the importance of knowing how to build strong walls—walls that define, protect, and last. But it also seemed important to know when walls have outlived their usefulness and need to come down, stone by sturdy stone.



Here I am again, just taking stock
Thinking of all I have
And that which I have lost
It seems so clear to me
All alone as darkness falls
I can see the light
When I take down the walls
Stone by stone

Those walls
I thought might save me
Not sure what they gave me
Maybe just a little something else I could call my own
But within those walls I always found myself alone

Taking down the walls means everyone can see
That my life is simple, hardly trouble-free
Pretty much the way I thought that it could be
If only. . . I am willing to take down the walls
Stone by stone

Just beyond the walls there’s always so much more

Now I’m kicking back, just taking time
With all the walls torn down
I see everything’s inside
It seems so clear to me
Bright as day, and that’s because
I can see the light
Since I took down the walls
Stone by stone

Open views as far as I can see
Without walls
New horizons have suddenly appeared
Stone by stone


From After All, track released May 1, 2008
Written, recorded and produced by Cheryl and Emerson

Inspiration – Removing the stone wall at Pretena