Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Roadside Pebble

I remember it so well, the day I walked along that path. The day was muggy and warm, and the air felt crisp under a light breeze. I walked along the riverbank, where it ran parallel to the well worn dirt road, lost in thought. My feet, which were bare, stepped on something foreign and caught my attention with a sharp jolt of pain vibrating up my leg. As I looked down, I saw that it was something as innocuous and mundane as a roadside pebble.

Some mischievous imp made me pick the small stone up and examine it in the sunlight. It glistened and shimmered with bits of quartz speckled throughout it. But on the whole, there was nothing special or spectacular about its muddy orange color swirled with darker flecks of brown. It was just a common roadside pebble, like so many others.

But still something made me cling to that small rock, instead of dropping it or throwing it into the river to see how many ripples I could make. And I remember how time seemed to halt for a brief moment as I stood there in the dank summer heat looking down into this most common of stones. The realization hit me at that moment, as I found myself warmed and comforted by its smoothness, that I was much like the stone I held.

I was not special in any particular way that would make me shine any brighter than anyone else. I could not sing or act, like a friend of mine, who went on to Juliard. I was not a genius in any sense of the word, like my boyfriend's father. And my upbringing was much like that of any other middle class Christian family with a bit of dysfunction at its edges.

In this world, there were many like both this stone and myself. And yet, there was no stone exactly like this one and no person exactly like me. And in a world brimming over with both stones and people, that was a true revelation. It was the epiphany that told me that I, like the pebble I had found while walking along the riverbank, had a concrete place in this world, if I were willing to stay the course.

It would not be the existence of kings and queens, or shimmering jewels, but it had purpose and meaning, all the same. And there would be moments of shimmering light, like the bits of quartz in that stone, as well as, moments swirled with darkness.

I can remember smiling at that moment, a strong and gentle smile, full of the surety of my place in this world. I can remember putting that stone in my pocket and walking on, only to find it days later as I prepared to do the laundry. And upon finding it again, the weight and magnitude of that discovery assailing me once more, leaving me breathless for a one stolen moment in time.

This small piece of rock, above jewels, books, and any other material object, is a precious thing to me, both for what it is and what it will always mean to me. In the humblest of objects, my truth was found. ^_^

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