“A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Without consciously deciding to do so, I find myself with a rock collection. I do not remember when it started, or how. Looking at it now, I see flashes of momentous times. A smooth steely gray one picked up as I’m keeled over grasping for breath at an imposing temple on a mountain peak. A pebble imbedded in my palm after falling down the Great Wall of China. A tiny black rock, the kind that gets stuck in your shoes, from an island in the Galapagos.
But more often than not, the rocks come from the simple moments. The ring-around-a-rock from the river bank back home. The smooth, perfectly round one reminiscent of a southern sunset found on a Tofino beach midday. And numerous others that stood out, for one reason or another, and of which, I can never resist.
I barely registered that these were keepsakes. Yet I always kept them. A slip in the pocket. A toss in the purse. Then later, sometimes immediately, sometimes weeks down the road, thrown into a junk drawer or journal pocket or nightstand.
Eventually, I round them all up and put them in this vase. My vase of stories.
Most of which I can not place directly to the exact rock. But that does not matter. It is the feeling of peace, of calm, that matters. Or sometimes, laughter and desire.
Like magic, when I need a reminder, a rock appears that makes it so.
Usually vases are filled with bouquets of flowers, full of life and beauty. Mine is filled with rocks. Full of life and beauty.
“Geologists have a saying. Rocks remember.”
As I pick one out today and roll it through my hand, I have no doubt about this. The texture and grooves tell age-old tales. The shine and contrasts glimmering with memories.
This, my vase of stories.