Saturday, March 21, 2015

Beautiful Boulders

I have always been drawn to rocks and decided that it was high time to make them the topic of my next project. There's something about their forms, textures and colors that speak to me and at times I can't resist playing around with whats at hand. 

For me, rocks also play a vital role in protecting a beloved shoreline home from natures forces. When a hurricane is pushing waves relentlessly onto shore, a sturdy rock dune provides a barrier to natures fury.

Our original family cottage had a small dune and we were very lucky over the decades to not to suffer catastrophic storm damage. Even though the '54 hurricane managed to push in the front wall and deposit sand and rocks in the basement, it was repairable. The old place held up well.

Over the years though, the water has been creeping closer to the dune and we knew it was just a matter of time before our luck would run out when it came to warding off mother nature's tantrums. We decided to rebuild the cottage, raise it up and reinforce the dune. 

It was fascinating to watch the dune building process. Heavy boulders would be trucked in, a few at a time because of their size. An excavator would pick up and carefully place each rock making sure they were locked tightly against each other. I had to admire the skill of the machine operator. He would manipulate the bucket as if were an extension of his hand. I would often spend time watching the progress and must say that I longed to try it myself.

As it turned out, it was a good thing that we rebuilt when we did. Super storm Sandy hit shortly after we finished the house and built the stairs over the dune. This is what the dune and walk-over looked like the day after the storm.

Beautiful blue sky; the calm after the storm but such destruction along the coast. The Atlantic was right up to the remainder of the dune.

It was amazing to see that the huge boulders in the dune had been pushed into the front yard and rolled out toward the ocean. The force of the waves must have been astounding! But the dune did its job and absorbed the brunt of the waters force.

But, because of the dune and the fact that we had raised the building, there was no damage to the house itself. The basement took the hit; sand and rocks in the basement, a couple of break-away walls and a garage door that needed replacing. We were lucky; I don't believe the old cottage would have survived.

After Sandy, we immediately rehired the excavator crew to come back and rebuild the dune so we'd be prepared for the next storm.  I happily got to watch to watch them play with rocks again.

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