– first draft –
the child walked along the beach looking, touching, admiring all the rocks that covered the ground. large, small, dark, light, rough, smooth. all thrown onto the beach by the never ending crashing of the waves against the coastline. grandmother walked closely behind the child listening to the unending waves, the birds that flew overhead and would dive into the water looking for fish, the sand as it swooshed against her footsteps, the wind as it travelled. grandmother was aware of all that was around her. the child could see no more than the rocks beneath its feet.
suddenly a small voice came from among the rocks. “over here”.
“did you hear that grandmother?” asked the boy.
“of course i heard it my child; the rocks are calling to you to pick them up”.
as grandmother said this the child suddenly noticed the cacophony of voices calling out to it from the beach. “i am over here”. “here”. “take me”. it was impossible to decipher from all that he heard what they were saying, or what they wanted.
“grandmother, all the rocks are speaking and all of them want me to pick them up. what should i do?”
“everything around you is always speaking. you simply had not been paying attention until now. the waves, the sand, the wind, the trees. they all have something to say, and yes, even the rocks.”
“how must i decide what to do when so many voices are speaking at once? who do i listen to? Asked the bewildered child”.
“everything around us must be heard, for everything has something to say, but not everything that is said is worth listening, not everything is there to help us, and we must decide what is important”.
the child heard the rocks voices, some asking to be thrown into the sea, other asking that they taken from this place, others simply requesting to be picked up and caressed.
one rock caught the small child’s attention. it was dark colored rock with beautiful veins of white that created a wonderful pattern on its surface. upon picking it up it spoke softly to the child asking only that it be thrown back in the water. the smooth surface of the stone and the softness of the child’s hands caressed each other. the child smiled as the stone rested softly in the palm of its hand.
“i will take this stone home grandmother. it is beautiful and it makes me smile when i hold it.”
grandmother considered the child’s words and asked: “has the stone requested to come home with you?”
the child knew it had not. the stone had in fact wanted to be thrown back in the water, to dance again in the waves of the ocean.
“do you remember the last time you brought home a beautiful stone? it sat by the window where you placed it to view the night stars with you, but soon the stone dried in the light of the sun, and eventually the beautiful patterns on its surface gave way to cracks. do you remember?” grandmother wanted the child to consider the decision carefully.
“i do remember grandmother, but this time will be different.”
“this time it is different” said grandmother. “this time you can hear the stone, and this time you know what can happen to the stone if it does not wish to be placed on a beautiful window ledge to see the stars with you.”
the child held the stone firmer against its palm and knew grandmother was right. the child caressed the stone one last time and held it against its lips, feeling its smooth surface and the beautiful veins that criss crossed the rock.
with one last wish, the child threw the stone back in the water as far as he could throw it. the stone broke the waters surface and danced its way to the bottom, feeling once again the beautiful rhythm of the current on its surface.
upon returning the home the child sat by the window that night staring out at the beautiful stars that shone brighter that night, and smiled knowing that the beautiful stone danced with the ocean currents, happy to have been held close by the child, and that someone had listened to its wish.