Stone Design, Petrichor, and Sound Therapy — During COVID-19 Quarantine

Words: Dawn Carroll

Words: Dawn Carroll
Photos: Dawn Carroll, Strider Sultan

Since the beginning of time, believers claim certain frequencies of sound offer deep healing. I don’t know about you, but I need this bad! I have googled every remedy that will cure my stormy confusion about the future and also find something to help ease tensions.  

I have learned a lot during quarantine about sound, nature, and healing; There is a spiritual belief that a frequency of 39.17 MHz might connect you with our maker and if that didn’t catch your attention, consider this: 20,000 hertz or greater might even infuriate bacteria. Some say, certain vibrations not only heal the body but alter your brain waves. This led me to the history of Sound Therapy and its ability to decrease anxiety and increase relaxation. I am asking a lot out of my backyard oasis, as it tends to me night and day. I am doing my best to make it my own personal resort and let the sounds of nature keep me calm.

While expanding my vocabulary I have discovered a new word, “PETRICHOR”.  This word helps explain why I’m so addicted to the treasures of the earth; stone, water, and the scent of the rain.  When drops of rain spill to the ground and hit minerals, soil, and leaves, we are rewarded with an earthy fragrance that stops us in our tracks. That aroma is called Petrichor.  Stay with me...this leads to stone design, I promise! 

Our little sniffers can detect the slightest whiff of petrichor immediately. According to Wikipedia, scientists believe our instant recognition of this scent, is something that was passed along by our ancestors. Water falling from the sky meant survival. A seaside summer lifestyle and harnessing this scent in my little space was going to be important to my state of mind when peace is so uncertain. With COVID threatening every recreational activity I need to feed my soul and fertilize my creativity, I am eager to get under the influence of petrichor and water sounds fast. To replace the sounds of the surf, sea salt spray, and whale watching, I started to design for my new COVID lifestyle in my landlocked yard.  

I have had three chunks of cored basalt sitting under the trees for years, detached from any water source, and they were being swallowed by my fern garden. So before the little fiddleheads popped out of the ground, I pulled those heavy rocks out and plotted a place for my sound therapy entertainment. You all know my expertise is interior stone design, so needless to say, I should have asked for help and more horsepower. Along with my aching back, I have a big hole, a massive mound of dirt and stuff everywhere, I created a mess that has me more stressed-out than ever. While I wait for one of my skilled stone pals, Bobby to come and save me, I turned back to Instagram to learn more about stone water features.

Instagram is a fertile breeding ground for great ideas and opportunities to learn about stone talents all over the world. Early every morning, I watch the amazing European artists carve an entire novel into a piece of stone the size of a quarter. Later in the day, I am dazzled by the creations of an artist I truly admire,Strider Sultan on American Wild West Stone Tour. Strider creates stone works of art that enhance your home, office, courtyard or secret garden. Designed to last forever, his pieces offer years of relaxation, even in a small space, and can turn it into a soothing retreat. Stone boulder fountains, bowl fountains, flagstone, and bubbling stepping stones can refresh your tootsies on a hot summer day.  

Your adrenaline is going to pump and you might need to fasten your seatbelt when seeing a guy high up on a platform, with a giant chainsaw, about to slice open a massive granite boulder. It is unscripted, dare-devil, stone art, and can become a real-life adventure. We all think we are experts, but we also know stone has a mind of its own and the rocks are always in control.  

Like many of us, Strider is a self-taught stone artist and has invented many of the machines and tools he relies on. There is both an art and an extreme sound strategy to a stone creation to get the water to sound perfect enough to win a coveted Grammy Award. Strider has traveled across the world to add to his stone collection and has mastered the engineering of the structural support to make giant boulders appear to float on air.

Handpicked Jade from Burma 

Despite a life long study of sound and a dual career in music, I knew nothing about creating or designing beautiful water sounds. My backyard COVID project, with my basalt water fountain and semi-precious tumbled river rock, was more than likely going to disappoint the minute I plugged it in and heard the wimpish trickle. I have learned that my war with algae was a product of my very shallow knowledge and the importance of water depth and flow makes that sound that resonates to your core.   

But, while all of this is truly a delight to the eye, we are also helping out mother nature by tending to these sweet spaces with the essentials birds and pollinators need. There is a whole world right outside our windows, offering IMAX shows 24/7. While I love my rocks, the added bonus to Strider's Instagram images are the birds dipping, dancing, splurging, and celebrating in
the fountain’s gurgle.

“By discovering nature, you discover yourself” - Maxim Lagace

“Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy” - Isaac Newton

“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” - Native American Proverb

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads” - Thoreau

Dawn Carroll is a stone designer, writer, and founder of the Over My Shoulder Foundation, which fuses the worlds of Music, Mentoring, and Design. 

Instagram Dawnmichellecarrroll 

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