I’ve always collected rocks, an affection that most likely started with arrowheads. When the farmers around Jernigan plowed the fields every year, the upturned dirt revealed pottery fragments, pieces of flint, and sometimes whole arrowheads. Early on, those found treasures made me feel both a sense of mystery and a connection with the earth and the past.
My Great Aunt Evelyn brought rocks to me whenever she traveled. Sometimes a rock would have caught her eye because it sparkled or was a pretty color or texture; other times she brought a polished stone such as the amethyst that dangles now from one of my charm bracelets.
I toted home rocks from a family vacation to Walden Pond the way others brought home shells from the beach: from Thoreau’s cabin site, from the cemetery where Emerson was buried, and from the yard at Hawthorne’s Old Manse. (It didn’t occur to me back then that those rocks were probably hauled in long after the authors were in their graves.)
This past weekend, Daddy and Mama brought iron ore rocks from home. One of their outdoor walls has fallen, so the Jernigan rocks I grew up with are now going to border a rosemary bed for me in Auburn. I could not have been happier if I’d awakened to find Stonehenge on my front lawn.
Nietzsche contended that while there will always be rocks in our paths, it is up to us whether we perceive them as stumbling blocks or stepping stones. Instead of a fallen wall in Jernigan, I see flower and herb beds in the near future.
Marian Carcache welcomes
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