Sunday, October 4, 2009

FIELD NOTES: A day for stones...

Sunday rest

…home doing nothing, (a rare occurrence only because I have a head cold) I am eating breakfast on the couch with the CBS Sunday Morning show. Bill Geist brings out a gentle segment about stone skipping and a competition in Franklin, PA. It looks so simple, so pleasantly old-fashioned and countrified, I wish I was there! I am fascinated not by the stone skipping as much as I am fascinated about how it relaxes me, takes me to the summery memory of my father showing off one of his ’dad skills’ by demonstrating how to skip stones across our favorite swimming hole, a pastime he perfected during his Depression-era childhood. It may seem like a waste of time, to go around collecting potential skipping rocks like world record setter Russ Byars does, but what a refreshing step back from the world of business…&…it must be no coincidence that I chose river stones for wallpaper on my laptop because I find them soothing to look at…& must also be no coincidence that a card slipped out of the medicine cabinet today for Magic River Stones™, the ones I had purchased to arrange around the lucky bamboo plant in the green-glazed pot. I stopped to read the card: “These beautiful stones are jasper, quartz and agate. They were naturally shaped by an ancient river in China, which for more than 2,000 years has been a pilgrimage site for people collecting lucky stones. Beautiful stones have always held a fascination for people from every culture. They are wonderful to carry as personal talismans or for use in fountains or to put around plants to slow moisture evaporation and to add a bit of beauty, luck and magic to your life.”…&…another non-coincidence must be the trail I followed from a blog comment that led me to and an article about a stone wall in the woods adventure…&…might it be another coincidence that I created a “Zen rock bottle” for myself. On Labor Day, I quelled my impatience waiting for a family member by sitting on the front steps and counting the tiny pea gravel from the walkway as I dropped them one by one into a Soave Italia wine bottle. The wine was not particularly memorable – I had been persuaded by the bottle’s balletic bend of the neck and its green tint with spare silvery gray graphics – but it was a calming, meditative physical action to wait by dropping stones into a bottle. I got up to 400 and when I picked up the bottle to put it back inside, the glass with the rocks was warm against by body. And I would remember that. Today, I needed some vitamin D for my cold, so I put 200 more stones into the bottle. It was a good day for stones….and all because I have a cold….

(Yes, this is what 600 tiny stones amount to!)


  1. Your post about stones makes me think of so many stone related things. I remembered the time I learned about skipping stones. I remember teaching my little sister about collecting rocks. She still does it to this day, and she has teenage kids. It annoys her husband to no end. :)

  2. Thanks for the chuckle, Ratty! Which in turn reminds me of taking the kids to Florida to see their grandparents and having to bring back ALL the beach rocks they collected. Fortunately, it was before baggage needed to be weighed. Sometimes a bag of rocks is a small burden for the joy of where they came from.