My sons David and Andrew and me decided to scale the lofty 14,270 Ft of Greys Peak here in Colorado today. But the biggest peak we truly scaled was that of a very small cairn, which you can see David sitting next to on the trail to the summit in this photo.
People build cairns for all kinds of reasons. Here the cairns are built by the forest service to help folks keep track of the trail. Particularly important in heavy snow when the trail vanishes. But they have a certain mystical charm about them, and most folks add rocks to them on their ascent, descent or both.
At this particular cairn, I added a fairly large rock to the pile. Dave on the other hand picked out the smallest rock he could find on the trail, and then dropped it down an opening in the top like a coin slot. We could hear the pebble clatter down to wedge in some deep recess.
"Why the small pebble?" I asked.
"Well, I know most people like to use big rocks on these cairns, " he said somewhat shyly. "You know, make a big impression, leave a big mark."
"But you know," he added after collecting his thoughts,
"It's the little pebbles that hold these big things together."