Saturday, February 2, 2008
Everybody Must Get Stoned
Rock onward with more bedrock memories...
It's so much fun being my own editor-- I enjoy all my puns and word play, and nothing ever gets cut. Even when it should be.
I had forgotten about my childhood rock collection. Thanks, Dad, for reminding me. Now I realize why you haven't forgotten-- all those times we moved from house to house, you lugged that overstuffed box of rocks, like a ball and chain. Perhaps there's even a Sisyphus analogy to be made. That would be for your blog, I'm afraid.
I STILL have some of those rocks. There's a piece of limestone, for instance, that I remember finding up at our "Cabin in the Sky" on Lake Shasta. Actually, I found about three pieces of limestone around there, and later realized they were once all the same piece of rock-- they fit together like a puzzle. Currently, two pieces are displayed in my backyard "moss" garden... the baby's tears keeps growing up and over them, so I chop it back every so often.
Anyway. Back to getting my "rocks in place," so to speak. Or write, that is.
Not sure if I have the energy to get through this all today. So I write around it, starting with second thoughts, doubts, this and that... procrastination, all. Truth be told, I'm not sure I want to tell this story. It's been with me so long, developing with me throughout my twenty plus years of post-adolescent consciousness...
I have described the ritual of placing a stone, as if moving a chess piece, affecting my perception, my universe, my perspective. A singular, simple act occurring outside of the realm of words, existing within the brief moment of the act. But the result has been significant. It's as if I am setting an anchor, digging in my toes to a foothold from which I can gather myself and leap onward.
On the island of Samos, where Pythagorus once lived, I was living out a dream. I hadn't imagined myself traveling so far away from California, where I had first read and learned about this ancient culture. My buddy Armand, who served as our host, tour guide, and activity coordinator, was sort of honeymooning, sort of vacationing, sort of visiting family, returning to Samos where his father had grown up. On this particular day he had arranged for a group of us to hike to a secluded beach for a swim "social" of sorts.
It was not an easy hike. There was a trail, sure enough, but parts were craggy, rough, and steep. But with a little patience, care, and perseverance, we made it to the beach, after about 40 minutes of navigation. Once there, I had no regrets-- it was a beautiful setting, crystal clear water, large rock "mini-cliffs" that the waves sprayed over... we swam, checked out depths and clearances, and even jumped off some of the rocks into the sea, once we'd assured our safety.
The beach was covered with rocks-- pebbles, small stones, etc. Some of the kids in our group arranged some of the larger, white stones into a love message for Armand and Melissa, the two whose marriage we were celebrating.
At some point I found myself with a quiet moment when the rest of the group was engaged in assorted activities and conversations. I had been revisiting many issues in my head, as this was a particularly active transitional period in my life-- I was in between jobs, having had my last day in the Engineering Department before leaving on this vacation. I would be returning to a "new" job after vacation-- a different job, but one I had already done as a "part-time" employee. I had really enjoyed the job, but grew frustrated with the hiring processes as time went by, as I was unable to be considered for permanent position openings in the department, even though I was already trained and performing the job at a "very satisfactory" level (to speak like management)... Also, Suzy and I had been struggling to start a family, and had received numerous predictions and well wishes from friends, family, and perfect strangers-- the consensus was that we would go to Greece, relax, get swept up in the Romance of it all, and return home to find that we were pregnant. I knew that returning home would be ushering in a "new era" of sorts in our lives.
So upon finding myself temporarily separate from the group, I revisited the ritual. I reached down, picked up a pebble, inspected it, looked at the large rock that rose in front of me, and placed the pebble in a hole that had evidently been hollowed out over time by the erosive forces of the wind and sea. But this time, the ritual was noticeably different; this time, I was filled with positive energy and an intense, vibrant, and optimistic outlook on my future. I wasn't at odds with myself or my place in life; I wasn't struggling with the great unknown, and how I was going to make my life work in the near future, or how I was going to avert disaster or failure. I was looking forward and appreciating the opportunities afforded me. It was like I had been driving down the football field to this point in my life, fighting for yardage, first downs, and further opportunities to keep the drive alive, and finally, I had crossed the goal line and scored. I was spiking the ball. I was doing my touchdown celebration.