Back to the wall


Spent last Saturday working on a stone water feature in the backyard and thinking about the rise and fall of movements. As you do.

I've had the walling bug ever since my mentor Adrian taught me how to lay stone. Since finishing the last project I've been dreaming of a water feature: a fish pond beneath a solid stone wall. Maybe a waterfall effect or perhaps just a small fountain. According to Adrian, the problem with the waterfall idea is that the water hits the cracks between the stone and goes everywhere. Hard to trap it in the pond for recycling. But I digress.

The foundations for the wall go deep. Concrete and steel reinforcing. There's a birch beside the wall (Adrian advised against the location) and the roots play havok. You don't want the wall to move. Rebuilding it would not be pleasant.

The pond is different. Daryl—a mate who builds hospitals—advised me to put the pond in sand with rocks around the edge. That way the pond can flex with any tree roots that come its way. If it moves too much it's pretty easy to pull up and reset. The wall has to be immovable, but the pond has to be flexible.

Now here's the connect with movements.

The key to sustaining a dynamic movement is to know what elements must remain immovable. The culture shifts and you don't budge an inch. Expect ridicule, resistance, persecution. You don't move. Concrete and reinforced steel.

You also must know what elements will need to move. You build in as much flex as you can and every few years you pull them up and lay them down again. No drama, you expected the ground to move. Build it in sand.

Movement leaders have to know the difference. What's a wall and what's a pond? Everything depends on it.