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The Voice of Stonehaven

The Voice of Stonehaven

February 22nd, 2011 (1 Comment)

The Voice of Stonehaven

You call me Stonehaven, but once I was called Hillside and Gaybrook. Before that, those that knew me as home, knew me as Water for drink and cleansing, as Earth for solid ground for planting, for growing green and tall, and for the millions of rocks that are my solid bed. Many knew me as Air, for their wings to fly and breath for their lungs. They have known me to pass through to visit as raging Fire that at least once devastatingly scorched this building. They heated water with fire here and warmed their bodies to work and make love, to create new life all over again.

I have been home to farmers and sweaty laborers on this land. The Tanners who tanned their hides and the Pechins who built a fulling mill to clean and stretch woven fabric- a communal place to color and dye their world beautiful. I saw the fabric of many lives stretched out before me on the tenterhooks of suffering, hung out to mature in this natural wilderness. For many years, I provided a road, a bridge for the townspeople to cross to the other side. I have even seen an orchard bear fruit in season.

My walls have witnessed two hundred and fifty years of pink babies, noisy children and cold grey bodies. They have been polished and etched with the simple rituals and clumsy accidents of daily life. I have heard centuries of prayer from people who were faithful to this earth and her tribes. The silence of almost a century of Quaker stillness still rings in the deep hollows of my stones.

Every day and night I have watched as foxes and deer, raccoons and skunks, groundhogs, squirrels and mice, and thousands of birds have foraged and nested in the woods nearby. I have been a solid presence to all of these and to the rocks and the crust of earth that laughs in green and flowers each spring.  I have watched the seasons turn the leaves brown and build a leafy mold that nourishes the land to revive her bountiful circle once more.

I am Stonehaven and I have sat here as a quiet gift to all those who have passed by on the road of their diverse lives. Travelers walking with all their worldly goods on their back, horsemen and soldiers, ladies attired in their white finery in a model T Ford. I now hear the roar of Harleys and of truck air-brakes and the silent whoosh of the ten speed bike that all fly down the road at break neck speed.

I am Stonehaven and I revel in each unique soul that has entered and loved this place. I have watched the Africans from Angola, Burkina Faso, Chad, Kenya, the Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Nigeria, and Egypt and Israel. I have heard the languages of Germany and the British Isles, of Canada, Holland, Mexico and France. Scholars from Nepal, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia have lived and studied here.

I have heard many languages of God especially centered in this room: the tears and the questioning sighs, the laughter and warmth of weddings, of delightful wine-laced conversation and dancing. I have heard your prayers, the voices raised for justice and love, compassion and goodness. I have seen peace grow in the Kosovo garden of war.  I have stood tall when the Towers fell and I watched you raise the standing rock of death while proclaiming that life endures forever. Have you noticed how the adventurous spirit of the pilgrim soul reigns in this space – the traveler, the outlier, the one that beckons you always to move outside my borders?

I am Stonehaven and I will stand after you are all gone, but I promise to hold your hand and guide you in your journey from this world into the next.

Carol Kortsch

February 22, 2011

One Response

  1. admin says:

    I love this! So good to hear about the history of this place!

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