5:00 a.m. by the swake on July 6, 2013

The sky is a decorated with fantastic wispy pink clouds and mist is rising from the swake.  It is a picture perfect morning, one week until the party for the three sisters.  The long-range weather forecast looks promising for the party weekend.  Food and beverage responsibilities are assigned to various family members, and Greg is busy playing stonemason with the steady and willing help of M & M.  The fellows have worked diligently all week mixing mortar, cutting slate, and fitting it together like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle across the garage and front door facades.

You'll have to believe me when I tell you the new stone wall looks wonderful because I have been dealing with several walls of my own, one of which is the ongoing struggle to load pictures for your entertainment.  Today I think I stumbled upon the reason why but it is going to require me to do some other work on the blog which will not happen this morning.  Apparently there are limits on my blog site as to total picture memory and number of blogs etc.  So it is time to do some spring-cleaning and trim things down so that we can continue our weekly stories accompanied by glimpses into swake life.

All that work on the wall outside plus some family health concerns got me thinking about how we perceive and talk about walls.  Do we hit the wall?  Go over the wall?  Take the wall down?  The new stone facade is attractive; it totally changes the look of the house and adds an element of presence that I really like.  It is solid looking, strong, earthy, reassuring somehow.  It's a good wall.  The health challenges we encountered this week in the extended family presented a very different kind of wall; one that brought us up short and left us feeling vulnerable.  Heart attacks have a way of doing that, as do the myriad of nuances that accompany family relations under stress.

I guess sometimes we build the wall by choice and it is good, a boundary providing protection and beauty as long as we leave an opening that welcomes others in.  Other times we build the wall almost unconsciously and it keeps us stuck in old ways, cooped up in behaviours that limit us.  Then there are times when the wall drops across our life path forcing us to re-wind, re-jig, and re-launch.  No matter the wall, good or bad, we still have a choice as to how we deal with it because walls are limited.  Even the Great Wall of China has a start and end.  Walls may reshape the landscape of our life permanently but there is always a way around, over, or through if you are determined enough and willing to find out what life looks like on the other side.