- Oct 15, 2014
Levi Macken was sitting on a stone fence. He filled his clay pipe, and with a feeling of accomplishment he looked at the long expanse of fence line he had just finished building. He lit his pipe, and sipped the soothing nectar. Exhaling slowly, Levi blew the smoke through his lips. Feeling relieved he surveyed what he had accomplished.
It took Levi seven years to build the stone fence. It bordered his entire property. Twelve acres of land was now fenced in. It was hot, 90 degrees hot. The late afternoon sun baked his face as he sat smoking. Levi wiped the perspiration from his brow and puffed on his pipe. Two squirrels chased each other, chirping noisily as they scampered up a tree.
In 1855 there was no mechanical machinery to move the stones from the field. Nor was there any machinery to help stack the heavy boulders into place. Levi had to do all of that by hand. And when he was not removing heavy stones from his fields, then dragging them by oxen, and lifting them into place for the fence, he was tending to his home.
Seven years ago Levi, his wife, and two young children began to settle in the woods of the east. They were ready to begin a new life. He cleared his land and used the timber to build his home. He tilled his land to grow crops. Levi also built a barn to house his oxen and tools.
The nearest town and neighbor were five miles away. The road they used to go to and from their home was a muddy path just wide enough for his oxen to pull his wagon. The family had to be self sufficient. During all that time, Levi continued to build that stone fence.
He walked to his barn. His pipe clenched between his teeth. Levi had built the barn while he was building his home. Now, seven years later the barn needed some repairs. He stopped momentarily to relight his pipe. He looked at the barn door which had broken off its large hinges. He knew what to do. He walked into the barn. There was a bench along one wall. It was built of the same barn wood that was used to build the barn.
Levi relit his clay pipe and walked to the bench. There was a mason jar on top of the bench. The jar was once used to hold the jam made by Levi, and his wife. Now it was filled with square nails of different sizes. He picked up the bottle, grabbed a hammer, and walked to the barn door.
While the entire time puffing on his pipe, Levi repaired the door. The door swung freely as he opened and closed it. The hinge was once again securely in place.
Levi walked to a small creek that flowed behind the barn. He sat down on a flat rock in front of the tiny stream. The clay pipe needed refilling. He reached into his shirt pocket and removed a pouch of tobacco. Dipping his pipe into the pouch he filled the bowl, gently pressed down on the tobacco, and then struck a wooden match to light it. As he lightly sipped it's grandeur he glanced at the tranquil beauty of his property. Everything, he thought, was as it should be.