time I was at the beach with some friends. The name of
the beach, the names of the friends, the content of the conversation all have
faded from memory. I do remember I
was mentally and physically exhausted.
I was bored lying in the sun talking
to these people. It all seemed
senseless to me. I remember
lying on my towel looking at
this small stone. There wasn’t
anything particularly unique about it.
It was black, wet, very smooth and
about the size of a peach pit. It felt good in my hand.
few feet over was a group of rocks that the water swished around and I walked
over to them to look for more stones.
I picked up a speckled one, then a
yellow one, and then a piece of wave
worn glass and a pottery chard.
Then I started grouping the stones
and collecting more speckled ones and
more yellow ones until I had little piles of different types of stones and
objects. Then I made
categories of these stones and objects.
Some speckled stones were more speckled
than others. Some had
bits of red. These had
to be placed in the correct
time seemed to stand still. The day was over. It was time to go back to the big
vacation house, take a shower, and drink margaritas, but I couldn’t leave.
was worried that my collection would be washed away during the night or worse-
someone might run though it and ruin my filing system. I felt I was just beginning. Size categories had just been implemented. The recent discovery of weary brick
fragments had to be graded and codified and the glass collection needed to be
arranged by color and opaqueness.
I had just found a choice yellow speckled
black beauty with a red stain. How could I stop now?
then I heard the dreaded question coming from the top of the dune, “Is everything ok?” How could I explain my newly found
vocation? I felt the
need to be
composed and disimpassioned about my secret project. I wanted to leave it sub-rosa. Not wanting to call any more attention to myself, I left my
collection and wandered back to the house. It slowly occurred to me that everything seemed more
vivid. The texture
of the sand,
the color of the sky, even the sound of people laughing off in the distance had
a richness to it. As I walked
the dune the sand felt warm on my feet and each step I took felt perfect. I wondered if could I take in a perfect
breath of air. It seemed
possible that day.