for 은교 with love
A River Tale
I am home looking at the river. So many stones! Pick one, that one—gray and round, and wet. What story does she want to tell? I think she wants to tell of blue skies and puffy white clouds. After all, she has been underwater for ages.
Now, to breathe and bask in sunshine! She, the rock, has big eyes, is amazed at all she sees, So much of it is beyond her ken, her comprehension. Still, she looks and listens and is open to what she sees, even if it is unfamiliar, even frightening, perhaps dangerous. She has her wits, and living as long as she has, she also has experience.
Still . . . what must it be like for her to be in this unfamiliar place after having been on the riverbed for so long, almost as long as she could remember.
I think she is a little lost. A little frightened. She hears a song coming from a village near the river:
'Oh, you can’t stand up all by yourself
you can’t stand up alone
You need the touch of a Mighty Hand
you can’t stand up alone’
And she knows what she needs is the touch of a Mighty Hand, and words that touch her as well, because it’s too hard to stand up all by yourself. Especially if you are a rock. What she needs must come from within and without, both.
She goes to investigate. This is her story.
The young rock, smooth and gray, was happy to see that the village was festive. Women rocks and children rocks were gaily dressed in bright colors: greens and reds and hints of blue and black and sparkly beads sewn into their dresses and blouses. They were happy. It was a happy place. They were gathered in the village square. A fountain in the square sent a bubbly plume high into the air, then splashed down again into a circular stone pool.
The square, which was warm, and rather dusty, was bordered by shops and market stalls of all kinds. Some of the women rocks and children rocks were singing, some playing instruments. Some were going about their business selling produce and wares and clothing they had grown or made. They visited and gossiped while the children rocks played games, or were gathered around their teacher rock, studying their lessons in the open air. It felt like a holiday to her, but it was an ordinary day.
Meanwhile, the men rocks were in the homes taking care of the little ones, and cleaning and cooking, and thinking about football, and what to make for dinner.
She felt a little shy, and a little funny because she was gray and smooth while the village rocks were less smooth and less gray.
It is always a funny feeling to be in the company of others, but still feel alone. She felt alone. The other children rocks were curious about her, and asked her questions: where did she come from, how did it feel to be smooth and gray, why did she come to the village?
She said, “the music brought me.”
She couldn’t help but miss the rocks she had grown up with on the riverbank, that is until someone had picked her up and skipped her into the river. Over time the current had carried her far downstream, too far to ever find her way home again; and even though she had lived years and years and years and years on the riverbed, she never felt quite at home. There is something mystical and mythical about home, even if the myth isn’t entirely true.
She wondered if her sibling rocks back home ever felt alone or . . . homeless. Though, generally, she wasn’t one to wonder. She dealt with certainty.
She was sad and she was happy, which is how it usually goes. Yes, she was alone in a crowd; and yes, the music and the gaiety made her happy. The children rocks spoke and sang with an odd accent. She didn’t understand everything they spoke and sang, but most. And, they mostly understood her as she told them about her life on the river bank, and less enthusiastically about the riverbed.
She told them how on a sunny, bright day sunbeams cut through the greenish murk that had been her home until this day, and how those sunbeams meant so much to her. The children rocks had a hard time imagining a murky existence—their life was one of strong sun, dusty roads, and buildings painted white against the heat.
She asked, “do any smooth gray rocks live here?” The children rocks kind of squinted up their eyes and thought, and remembered the old grandmother rock who, though worn with age, was smoother and grayer than their own grandmothers. The old grandmother rock had lived among them longer than any of the children rocks could remember, and thought of her lovingly,
though she was not of the village.
“We’ll take you to meet her,” they said.
The children rocks took the young rock to see the smooth and gray grandmother rock. The grandmother rock told the young rock of how she came to the village.
"It was years and years and years and years ago. I was a young rock, newly married with a husband rock and a beautiful young daughter rock. We lived on the riverbank, which is why we are smooth, time had worn us so.
"One sad day a woman rock from a distant village happened by. She was admiring the beauty of the river, and the beauty of the day. As she was leaving she picked up a pretty rock as a remembrance of the day. The rock she picked up was me.
“The young woman rock took me back to her village, this village, to her home. I came to accept my fate, and I became a part of the family. There was no going back to the riverbank, it was too far away in time and place."
The story was unspeakably sad to the young rock, and it made the grandmother rock cry to think of her husband rock and her young daughter rock she had lost so long ago.
I think you know what happened next.
The grandmother, wiping away her tears, asked the young rock about her own life, where she was from and how she came to the village. The young rock, wiping away her own tears, told the grandmother of her long journey from the time she a little girl rock on the riverbank with her family and friends, to her arrival in the village. How she had been skipped into the river, how she had drifted downstream for years and years and years and years, how she had found herself on the riverbank again, and how she heard the music and had come to the village.
The young rock talked of her home, her parents, her brother and sister rocks, and her friend rocks on the riverbank. She talked mostly about her mother rock, whom she remembered lovingly. She told the grandmother rock how her mother rock was smooth and gray like all the other rocks on the riverbank, but she had a chip, a piece of her had broken away when she was a baby rock, and had been battered against other rocks in a terrible storm.
The grandmother rock was quiet. Then asked, “was the chip here?” and she pointed to a place on her own body.
The young rock nodded. “Yes, exactly there.”
"Was the name of village Harmony?” asked the grandmother rock.
The young rock’s eyes grew wide. “Yes."
And so it was that after years and years and years and years the grandmother rock and granddaughter rock were united.
When the villagers heard the amazing story they knew what they had to do. They used all the resources available to them to discover the location of the far-away place on the riverbank, so far away that it was in another country. The villagers arranged that a passing caravan of trader rocks would take the grandmother rock and her granddaughter rock back to their riverbank, back to Harmony.
And that is what happened, and all were reunited: grandmother rock, daughter rock, and granddaughter rock. And though years and years and years and years had passed, that is not so much time for rock. In fact, it seemed as if only a few moments had passed, about as much time as it takes to read a story.
And all was well.
Poetry by one trick pony
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Written on 2019-12-11 at 23:42
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