I have since built a few cairns of my own while walking along Wissahickon Creek in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. Its meditative effect makes it the perfect way to shed city life stresses. Part of the fun is trying to build something that looks like it shouldn't be able to stay standing. Balancing it on the edge of a boulder or leaving a space at the center that you can see through makes it more than just a pile of rocks. Each structure is so precarious that I always know when it has reached its limit. Usually I'll continue on my walk until I'm on the other side of the creek and then I'll watch people's reactions as they discover the cairn. Dogs and children are particularly fascinated by these unexpected art installations in the wild.
Etymology: Middle English (Scots) carne, from Scottish Gaelic carn; akin to Old Irish & Welsh carn cairn
Date: 15th century
: a heap of stones piled up as a memorial or as a landmark (Merriam-Webster)
The tallest cairn I've managed so far.
As a seller on Etsy, I love browsing at what is on offer from artists and vintage lovers around the world. It turns out that my love of cairns is shared by a number of them. Here are a few that captured my attention.
Moss Terrariums' Cairn Terrarium No 1
Made for Fun's Bottle Stopper
Leaping Gazelle's Sea Cairn
Jibby and Juna's Cairn Illustration Pendant
AntiGenre's Cairn Ring
Groundwork's Cairn No. 3--Limited Edition Print
(which I also happen to have framed in my bedroom)
Jenifer Glagowski's Original--Orange on Grey