I was inspired in September 09 to build this cairn, walking by the river, kicking stoned about, I just felt the desire to build.
I’m revisiting the Cairn for some reason inspired by a book I’m reading, Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation by Maggie Oman Shannon and it touched on the subjects of the Cairn, but not enough for my inquisitive nature, that wants to know more.
I visited Scotland end of July first week of August in 2014, when visiting Scotland I saw a book highlighting three Cairns called the 3 Brethren near Selkirk I didn’t even know about.
I desire to discover further insight of the significance that a Cairn has, and begin to dive in a little deeper. The Cairn is a Gaelic word a practice of picking up a rock, and laying a rock down is the Cairn process, to contribute to the structure that has been added to by other fellow hikers. This is my interpretation of a Cairn, it has different symbolism and meaning to people, a memorial to a person, a reminder of an accomplishment or a goal to be attained, the goal to be attained was the reason for me at the time of building my Cairn.
The Bible does mention boundary stones in Deuteronomy 19:14, New International Version (NIV)
14 Do not move your neighbor’s boundary stone set up by your predecessors in the inheritance you receive in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
Deuteronomy 27:17New International Version (NIV)
17 “Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbor’s boundary stone.”
Proverbs 22:28New International Version (NIV)
28 Do not move an ancient boundary stone
set up by your ancestors.
Why and what is the significance the question could be asked?
Why does the Bible state not to remove the boundary stones?
It is a mound of stones erected as a memorial or marker used as a boundary of those who have walked the path before us and is erected to catch our attention, and remind us, to not forget the significance for the placement of this visual land mark, and if we go beyond the marker we can leave the familiar places the boundaries put there for our protection. The possibility of entering danger if we stray from the Cairns that are used to preserve the land and prevent erosion if used as they are intended.
There is a love hate relationship toward Cairns, some view them as a mysterious beauty others see them as a scar on the land.
One stone at a time, but a group venture but one person contributing to the whole, without it, the Cairn would be incomplete and at times just looks like a heap of stones, unsightly. The beautifully crafted Cairns take time and patience and if a stone is taken away it could fall or make unstable. A symbol of community, some beautiful, some unsightly, we may meet people contributing to the Cairn, we may not see a soul but can see the evidence of the people who have been their and contributed to the whole, who have placed their rock as an offering.
Could the process be a symbolic act of casting of the problem you have been carrying for a number of years. A freedom experienced as a step of accomplishment and it all began with a choice of picking a stone or rock at the bottom of the hill or mountain and you ascend with a companion not human but a stone that is with you all the way.
We are all searching for that place of community and belonging and we belong as long as we are a participant in the process. This may be a one time event or an on going process of picking up and laying down, until we find that which is you contribution to the whole, and is done as often as you choose.
The Cairn is like the church we all have different reason for going and contribute at the level at which we decide. It does have a spiritual dimension and experience, that makes us participate and desire more, out of a desire to love and be loved. a labor of love.
I built a Cairn as a individual, however found it therapeutic not really done for people to view and a few weeks later was washed away when the river swelled and mingled the stones into the riverbed never to be placed together in that configuration again, together only for a season.
The Cairn has touched and made an impression on my life and may others different people, some love and some hate the Cairn, but it has its influence at a number of levels and cultures, people types and mixes that causes a bridge used by many to cross over if they desire to choose.
Is God trying to get your attention, by being brought to a place of knowing God. To remind you of God and to remember the commitments made, our landmarks or summons from the Lord because we so easily forget God. Over the year there has been choices made and the sacrifices given, as people before us have given of their lives and we at times take their commitment for granted, the ridicule or shame experienced to blaze new paths for God.