by Julie Carpenter
Sometimes, when I’m walking up the drive in the sun, I find a large flat rock where the gravel has washed away and I stand there. I like to feel it under my feet pushing the heat back from the sun, solid, smooth, being a rock, holding me up. Rocks are hard. They don't move. They don't die...I assume. They just get broken down and worn over a very, very long time. They are as material as material can be. I like that about them.
Still sometimes, I wonder if things would have been better left as thoughts, vaporous free form. All matter might have been left in some sort of eternal flux of choice, not this or that, not one thing or another. Fog and air or shape shifting mist. Pale essence fluttering into almostness forever. Rocks do not agree. They disagree, solidly. They do not have existential crises. If you doubt your own materiality, they will trip you, lodge in your shoe, bang your ankle. Your shovel will hit them when you are trying to plant your Limelight hydrangea. Maybe the handle will break. Rock insist on their own form stubbornly. Sometimes, I would like to rebel against the intractable stones.
But then…I like the feel of that rock. I like the heat that it pushes back at me. I like the opposition. I like to push it with my foot and feel the relentless solidity of it. I am me and the rock is the rock. A limitation. A comfort.
I feel a strange camaraderie with the rock or at least an admiration for its resistance and boundaries. It feels like a friend. And then I realize I’m standing on a rock in the middle of the driveway in the sun, murmuring to it, and I feel like a lunatic. I look around nonchalantly to make sure no one saw me and head back up to the porch to talk to the cats instead.