I started stacking stones again. My retaining wall project began last year, on March 25, by demolishing the existing rockery with my dad. A week later it continued when I rented a truck and picked up three yards of gravel with my friend Matt. And the real fun began when six tons of stones were delivered to the front yard, on May 9. I hit pause on the work in late July, to build stairs that run through the wall, and all drystack work ceased over the winter. But this week, thanks to a few spring-like days, I reaquainted myself with the quartzite.

My pace has already picked up considerably. Over the winter, I read a couple books from mastercraftsman Dan Snow and I’ve had plenty of time to dwell on a quote from In the Company of Stone:

Stone is picked up and placed: no exchanges, no returns, and no regrets. Giving each stone a second chance to find its home doubles the building time. Three chances make a job take three times as long as it needs to. The first stone you decide to use may not be the best of the three, if three were allowed, but as long as it is structurally acceptable, it stays. The place to make improvements over a potential mistake is with the next stone. Progress is made by recognizing faults and using the knowledge of them to make the next choice a better one.

Progress as mantra. I’m not wasting as much time, and I’m shaking my perfectionist urges. Now I’m optimistic that the main 50′ section of the wall will be done this spring.