deep in man's soul must be planted a desire, a need, a drive to connect with other humans.
we are not meant to be alone, and there is some little innate seedling inside our souls that sends out joyful shoots when it feels connection.
and like so many of our traits and drives, these inner workings are programmed at a cellular level and outside of or underneath or above or just simply out of our control. subconscious, unconscious, these are deep dark places we can't completely understand, and we are left to just accept that these drives exist, tame them when necessary, rejoice in them when they work to our favor.
my little connection-seedling sprouts when it sees cairns.
I have no idea who built the first cairn, or where it happened---it's been posited that the first came to be during the bronze age---but I can suggest that the "why" had to do with communication.
nowadays and around here they often mark hiking or mountain biking trails, or---as seen in emigration canyon---someone's mailbox.
but they can also be used to send private messages to friends, hey, this is where I turned, or yep, you're on the right path, keep following.
riding up big cottonwood last sunday I encountered a cairn on the side of the road, a small one of only 4 or 5 stones, an obvious message to someone.
and my romantic soul just blossomed.
although I was alone on the road at that point, it is a very well-traveled road with cars, motorcycles and bicycles flowing up and down regularly. but there's just something about this private message that said to me, ah, a fellow human took the time to create a small beauty in this communication to another human.
I was here, I thought of you, I'm sending you a message.
when I'm on a trail in the middle of nowhere (not truly, of course, for I'm not quite that much of an adventurer) and I see a cairn I feel that same tug, the message that a fellow traveler has been this way, and marked the spot for one reason or another.
they took the time to leave a message, to build a piece of art.
I don't try to be pleased by this; it just happens.
my soul sprouts green tendrils that tickle and make me smile and rejoice in the fact that yes, I am not alone,
yes, there are others who have been here,
yes, someone else finds beauty in the communion created by a neat stack of stones.