Passionate visitors of graves and graveyards often have favourite stones – stones with ornate decoration, touching epitaphs or extravagant lichen covering, stones that hold personal memories.
A stone can express many things for those who erect them as well as for those who them.
But stones can also be tools.
There is a certain species that has favourite stones in a number of graveyards – the song thrush. A bird, not unlike a blackbird but much lighter in colour, with brown and cream feathers and a lovely song. The thrush has more and more discovered graveyards and parks as his favourite habitat, its song accompanies the solititude of many a visitor.
Thrushes eat snails and they use the gravestones to crack the snail shells open so they can eat them. The gravestone becomes the thrush’s anvil, a kind of tool to access food, just like knives and forks for humans.
Their favourite stones are easily spotted by a bounty of empty shells.
An intriguing thought that the markers for the dead can be made use of to sustain life.
Sign of life among the dead.
Lochinver graveyard is just one of many, where this phenomena can be found. Just look out for the song thrush’s favourite stones.