Build a Monument - Enhance Your Health
April 09, 2014It started out being two pieces of broken asphalt piled on top of the other located along a winding section of West Lilac Road near Lalbah Road. Then Deborah Stewart, a resident of the neighborhood, remarked to her husband that someone had put a rock on top of the broken asphalt pieces.
"Then someone started adding rocks," said Stewart. "It's grown little by little and it has grown for years and years. It's getting really big."
When the Stewarts found out it was a neighbor adding rocks to the pile, they decided to help the neighbor with the project. "My husband started leaving rocks on the side of the road so the neighbor would have rocks to put on the monument," Stewart said.
She guessed there are thousands of rocks by now. Over the years it has become somewhat of a tradition for Stewart to send her rock-collecting neighbors a Christmas card. "I would send them photos of the monument Ben was building," said Stewart.
"I'll tell you my story then," said Ben Poirier, the Stewart's neighbor. "Basically, I have to exercise for my health. My doctor said to try exercising. Previously I began walking for a number of years, but the doctor wanted me to exercise more."
Poirier admits he isn't an exercise fanatic, but he walks five days each week for forty-five minutes. He routinely makes this solo walk each morning after breakfast. His motto is "I start one walk, one rock at a time," Poirier said.
First, there was one rock one day, then another rock the next day.
"It amused me," said Poirier. "I've been picking up rocks along the walk and at the house here. It entertains me and keeps me going."
He thinks it gives him a goal while he's walking, just something to do.
"One rock at a time, a handful at a time, whatever," Poirier said. "Sometimes rocks will disappear."
Then there are the special occasions when he puts a crystal on the pile to add to the collection.
"A couple of neighbors have commented that they thought it was a good karma-thing for the neighborhood," said Poirier.
Poirier estimates this practice has been ongoing for six years and that the rock monument is probably two and a half to three feet tall with the same dimensions at the base.
"There are thousands of rocks. A lot of little rocks are on the inside," Poirier said.
The center of this collection of rocks is filled with smaller rocks and on the outside are larger ones. "After awhile, I had to give it some thought on construction," he said.
Poirier based his design on the Southwest Pueblo Native Americans during the 1300's, who constructed walls using larger rocks on the outside filling the inside with smaller rocks.
"I'm going to keep on walking," Poirier said. "My health is good because of this, so I'm going to continue walking."
There are no immediate plans for his walking routine or for the rock pile.
"Just at the end, when I walk, I've been adding to it and walking farther. Then I turn around and come back," said Poirier.
He confesses there is no huge reason behind the rock pile. The gigantic rock collection is simply a monument for walking.