In a couple of days I’ll be honing my masonry skills. I’ve been frequently teased about my bizarre (to some) affection for rocks. I like to collect them and place them all over the garden, and extra special ones go on window sills and bookshelves. But when my aunt recently published a book about her childhood and growing up in a tiny village of Portugal, there were many stories of the rocky landscape, and of children playing with rocks in lieu of real dolls or toys; for in those days, Portugal was a very poor country. So, maybe my strange affinity for rocks comes from this slightly barren landscape that my eyes have rested on ever since I can remember, and maybe it’s been passed on down through the generations of my family building their homes by hand, one rock at a time. In any case, it will be good to touch these stone walls and imagine the lives of the men and families that built them. And know that in some small way, I am honoring that tradition.