What is a Story According to a Rock

12 Sep

bikeOn an afternoon bike ride I stopped to explore a dry creek bed that crossed the trail. As I explored the creek bed it was clear that it often flooded. Large parts of bushes and trees hung on other bushes still rooted to the ground. Some stood a few feet off the ground and they had obviously been tossed there by a powerful force.

I stood below one artistic arrangement that captured my attention. Not only were there parts of bushes and branches of trees, and even a loose bit of blue fabric stuck wondrously to the ironwood still clinging to the soil, but there were rocks too! Some were pretty big rocks suspended magically in the tangle of debris several feet off the ground.

One of the rocks was unlike most of the others. It still had very sharp corners and edges to it. The ones I was walking over in the creek bed were mostly rounded by the many floods that had passed over them and ground them to a softer shape.  But this one rock looks as if it had just been excavated from the hills surrounding the small drainage I wandered into.

Where did that rock come from? How far upstream was it lodged when this torrent of water pulled it from the earth?

I wondered just what the event looked like as the muddy water cascaded over boulders and stones, cutting under turns in the bed and generally wreaking havoc on the sandy bed. Was this rock part of the limestone higher up where once a lake sat and at its bottom gathered the calcium rich sand to create a solid floor? How long had that taken? And then, so long later, the bit of rock was exposed by the drying of the water or an upheaval of some sort? I could not know.

But there before me the rock perched in the mass of twisted growth had a story to tell that had settings, and plots. And there I stood, staring at it and wondering about the story and even making it up as I wondered. I could have chosen any rock or portion of a bush to wonder about, but that particular rock, on that particular afternoon shared a story with me. And here, right now, it is digital, and separated by time and space from that creek bed just a few miles from where I sit. From me here now taking a moment to wonder and reflect.

Then, making words or images or colors or sounds that try to recapture something real or imagined and lifting them out of the empty space into something tangible. At least for a moment.

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