Our Common Path
As long as the memory of one endured, not a passenger went by
without adding a stone to the heap. To this monument there is a proverbial saying alluding to this old practice.
Curri mi cloch er do charne. I will add a stone to your cairn, meaning when you are no more I will do all possible to honor your memory.
In August of 1996, three hundred South Bostonians joined me with a stone and a story of what connected them to South Boston to build a spiral circle on the once abandoned strip of land referred to as ”No Man’s Land, “the Ressie” or ironically “Suicide Hill”
Two years later a group of young people in the midst of a suicide epidemic would come to me looking to build a public art piece to mark and honor their grief. That summer we constructed a Celtic cross set in stone on the slope of the hill and the families and friends of suicide victims came to, reflect, prayer and remember.
One of the things that really appealed to me about No Mans’ Land was that there was a trodden path that cut right though the space, a path that had been there for about 100 years. People used this path, perhaps as a short cut or perhaps to explore the Urban Wild and enchantment of No Man’s Land.
In the spring of 2000 I was working with two young men who liked to play roles from Kung Fu. One would be the Zen master and one would be “Grasshopper”. All day long I would hear “Grasshopper you must…..” One day one of the boys was missing and the other one and I took on the roles. The assignment was to gather pebbles to put on the trodden path. The catch was that you had to kneel and collect only the pebbles you could reach without moving from your position until you had filled a 2 gallon bucket. I I was about half way to the top of my bucket and I was thinking I couldn’t do this! At that very moment the young man started to tell me his life story, how his father had been in an accident. How he was expelled from school, about his first kiss, about his hopes, about his dreams, about his fears. I was being given a gift that would change my life forever. He talked to me for 5 hours! As we left that day we looked back and saw that we had laid 20 feet of pebble path. Neither one of us remembered filling our buckets.
Since that time thousands of young people have worked for us at Medicine Wheel, finding themselves in the creative process. Last year the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund awarded Medicine Wheel with a grant to install an accessible to all path connecting the Boston National Historical Park with two gates and a paved path with access to people with all forms of mobility.
We would like to line that path with engraved bricks of our common hopes, dreams prayers and memories. Our goal is 600 bricks. Due to a matching gift for our youth employment program, when you buy a brick we are also able to engrave a brick with the name of one of the courageous young people who has worked at Medicine Wheel.
Your determination in bringing this project to fruition is a shining example of the type of spirit and professional pride that Mr. Browne sough to instill in Boston’s citizens when he established his bequest. We are honored to assist you in this endeavor.
Commissioners of the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund
City of Boston