A long time ago, a Tom Robbins book profoundly altered my relationship with the world and my perception of consciousness. _Skinny Legs and All_ extended my empathetic capacity to inanimate objects, and although the novel's protagonists were ordinary houshold objects-can of beans, silver spoon and a sock- I have ever since felt the life and consciousness of rocks and soil. I think that feeling was already there, especially for rocks, and Robbins validated my sense that there is a consciousness far beyond what humans have speculated.
The first time I ever went hiking with my family, age 4, I began within the first few feet, picking up rocks and putting them in my pack. One would guess the lesson I should have learned that day. I don't take as many rocks with me as I would like to, but to this day I can hardly go on a walk without picking up a stone. I have always felt connected to boulders, stones, rocks and pebbles. I love the feel of sun-warmed stone under my bare feet. Growing up in the Smokies and living my early adult life in the Blue Ridge, I would spend hours hiking mountain streams. Barefoot and with no constraint of time nor any concern for what dishelveled, muddy condition the river would release me, I would explore the feeling of the stream, the way the different kinds of rocks felt under my feet. I usually walked up stream, and I would boulder up onto the larger rock formations and stretch my body over them, feeling the grooves, finding the perfect fit. When I would find that stone that was a perfect fit, I'd lay there and stare into the water, enjoying how my perception of the life of the stream would gradually awaken, allowing me to see the life in fluid motion.
Faerie Godmother wrote in a comment that a stone told her "Don't let yourself be strip-mined. Don't let your grief pollute! Be a clear spring where the water is pure." Now that is the kind of wisdom that comes from a rock. Life is too precious to spend your time in grief and worry. Surely, if Ghandi had allowed the grief he often must of felt to overtake his life... well, just imagine!
A quick weekend jolt to my hometown fed my soul with a deep appreciation for the relationship I have with my parents, which is now emerging into such a wonderful friendship. I also got in a few hours of catching up with one of my long-time close friends, who first inspired me to visit Poland when he was living there a few years ago. Between my upcoming travels and all sorts of insane and mundane life things, we certainly didn't run out of things to talk about. And then I came back home to three animal companions who, after I've left them for a day, want to spend every second by my side. The rest of my time has been spent enjoying the company of our Indonesian visitors and learning to see my life and home through new eyes. Last night Lee & I played music for our visitors, and Lee brought the house down when he played, by request, "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain," and our visitors sang along, with great enthusiasm, about 15 verses in Javanese.
That little stone's message rings true through these many joys that bless my life at nearly every unexpected turn. Of course there will be grief, hurt, self-doubt. Hearts and mountains both are vulnerable to strip mining. But life is always ready to spring forth. You should see what's happening out here on Judy Branch!