Tuesday, August 11, 2015

One in a Million

I found the perfect pocket rock the other day. Why is that important? I'd really like to know why I saw this unassuming rock lying on a beach full of rocks and I knew in an instant how it would feel in my hand. It was like love at first sight, on a smaller scale of course.

I hate to tell you, but I like the feel of this stone more than the polished worry stone I bought when we went to visit my family. I like it more than the heart-shaped glass a little friend found for me at a garage sale. I like it better than the round white stone a friend brought back for me from a white beach in Ireland. I might even like it more than the rock I've been carrying in my pocket for the past three or four years, the one that's polished smooth from so much worrying, the one that Nick gave me, the one that is black with red veins running through it. I suppose I still love the stone Nick gave me best, but there is so much potential in my new pocket rock. Two or three years will tell the tale. I've been carrying Nick's pocket rock that long.

I tried to hand the perfect pocket rock to my friend on the beach at the moment I found it but it didn't strike her as perfect so I tucked it into my own pocket before she lost it among the multitudes of stones. When I got home, I showed Nick, but he held it in the wrong hand and I knew, though he loves a good pocket rock, that this wasn't his perfect fit. It is decidedly a left-handed pocket rock, being wider on one end for grip and having the perfect spoon for my left thumb. I even tried to get Mike to see it's perfection.


How is it that three perfectly sane people who knew me could not feel the beauty of this stone?

Now, I'm about to admit that I have a problem. It isn't often that I end a walk without a rock in my pocket. My mother sent me a crystal bowl when Mike and I got married and I filled it with my favorite rocks. When my quilt group came for my turn this year, I moved a bunch of my found rocks outside as if they belonged there. 'Cleaning.' I hate cleaning. When I turn out my pockets at the airport, there is always a rock with my keys and my wallet. The dryer often tumbles a rock or two. A couple of years ago, a friend introduced me to a Zentangle class and we doodled on found stones. So now, I have two or three piles of stones in the house waiting for me to doodle on them. There are doodled stones in every house plant. There are stones on windowsills.

This habit of doodling on stones is meditative. It does make me happy when I end up liking a pattern I've drawn, usually emphasizing something the stone held to begin with. When I don't like my results, I toss the poor rock back into a pile of rocks by the river or into tall grass where it can recover and grind my insult away against other stones. I've intentionally left other doodled stones, a blessing of sorts, at places I love, at my trails, at the river, on an ocean shore, at my son's schools and dojos and fields and pools.

The stones never stay where I leave them. Sometimes I look for them when I come back through and they always disappear. I like that. Once, I found one of my stones in the home of a friend. What are the odds? Well, since this friend walked the same trail I did on occasion, it wasn't that much of a stretch.

But the most important part is choosing the stones. I would swear that they choose me. One minute, I'm having a perfectly sane walk on a rocky trail and the next, there's a sweet stone, just aching for me to pick it up. Right now, I'm collecting flat round stones. I used to collect red ones or green ones. Then, I went through a long stretch of finding wounded stones that had healed. I may not be the only crazy person in this world because I recently learned that the healed stones, the ones with lines all the way through them, are called wishing stones.

I never made a wish on my wishing stones, but I have meditated over them. I have carried them miles with me before depositing them somewhere new. Geologists be damned.

Usually, my found stones lie among thousands of other stones, but something makes me single them out. I've given up prying a stone out of a tight spot. If a place is going to look weird when I walk away, I don't want to disturb it. Some of my trails are nearly paved with stones embedded in mud. I leave these alone. It's a stone that's been uprooted, that has hung alone at the edge of a trail or been kicked loose by someone on the trail ahead of me that captures my eye. My stones have a hopeful sense about them, one of art and traveling and love and wondering where a soul might end up.

These stones find me.

My perfect pocket rock found me too. It is safely ensconced in my left pocket. I can reach in when I need tangible reassurance and it is there.

Strange, right? I told you I had a problem.

Thank you for listening, jb

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