On a tray on my desk, in a blue bowl on a shelf, on the steps of my front porch I have a collection of rocks. Some have come to me from friends: a bit of laced shale found on a hike in Japan, a black bit of lava from a point between Bolivia and Chile, an agate from my daughter’s pocket, a triangle of sandstone carved on a sidewalk while waiting for a bus from my son. Flint from Arkansas, a loon-shaped rock from the Poconos.
A stack of unskipped skipper rocks — now, those are the rocks of poetry. The rocks are meant to be skipped across the water, but if I do that, I lose the rocks. Keeping them stacked on a shelf in my bedroom keeps the skippers from their one chance to skip. Oy.
I wanted to say rocks come to us when we aren’t looking but sheesh! How corny is that? But still and all . . . every rock has its story and most rocks arrive without my asking them to show up. The rock in this photo came from a friend who has only met me a couple times and yet, she showed up at my house bearing the gift of two rocks. Both came to her when she wasn’t looking. There she was, cooling her feet in a Colorado stream when all of a sudden she heard pick me, take me home, give me to Sherry.
The rocks in my house are abuzz with speculation about this new rock. (Notice how I am not mentioning the red and green glass? They are of an entirely different nature. Their story has yet to be told). New Rock is meant to be cracked open. What is its story, anyway? Everyone who has come to my house has picked the rock up and rolled it in their hands. Enticing to consider what might be inside. Should we crack it open? And if we did, where exactly would the best point of entry be? If we pick the wrong spot, the rock will shatter and whatever is inside the rock will be ruined. Pick the right point of entry and tadah, the insides will be revealed intact. Writers understand this.