Rock On!

Cairns—we saw them aplenty when we climbed Ben Nevis. We noticed quite a few in Nova Scotia. We spotted them as trail markers in John Muir woods, on Palomar Mountain near the observatory, and now in the shallows of the Boise river—in this case, parents built them symbolically, one cairn each for a family of seven.

Used by people around the globe, cairns — human-made stack of stones — serve many different purposes:

  • Utilitarian: to mark a path, territory, or specific site
  • Spiritual: inviting passersby to stop and reflect
  • Ceremonial: when placed within a circle of enclosing stones
  • Memorial: when friends and family members voice a fond remembrance of a loved one while adding adding a stone
  • Symbolic: the uses are endless including love, prayer, and artistic expression

Have you ever built a cairn?


Ad Infinitum

When Len and I attended the Da Vinci exhibit at the Discovery Center in Boise, one of the displays they offered was a view of infinitythe state of endlessness or having no limits in terms of time, space, or other quantity. Accomplished with lights and mirrors, it gave the visual impression of forever.

Infinity Exhibit

Trying to wrap my head around the idea of timelessness in a way that I could personally relate, I reviewed my life experiences. The one that comes closest to limitlessness is the view we savored from the summit of Ben Nevis. Located in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands, it’s the highest point in the British Isles.

In your life, what personal experience best represents infinity?

© Laurie Buchanan

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