I keep my eye on the ground all the time, including people’s yards and walks. Old homes favor local stone, for example, because it was quarried here at the time or maybe because people used to dig around their property more. People were more self-reliant in the past, too—the ability to do carpentry, tend animals and maintain buildings was more common. New homes all use imported stone, often lava rock from northeastern California that looks as foreign here as Carrara marble. Others favor mossy boulders that are ripped from a distant, anonymous hillside somewhere or perhaps even harvested illicitly from a national forest. No one certifies gravel, after all.
But in this driveway panel at the top of Howe Street, these all look like local rocks, put together by someone who saved a pile of them just in case. If I owned my house I’d make something like it. Whoever created this didn’t drive down to American Soil Products and order a yard of pink flagstones first.