I love stones. Stones call to me, and people give me stones. I’m reminded of the poet Robinson Jeffers wonderful Tor House in Carmel, CA. where stones gather, collected from all over the world.
The story in the New Yorker this week is called The Stone and is by Louise Erdrich, a writer whose work I love.
She has this to say about the story and “the stone”.
“In the Ojibwe language, nouns are animate or inanimate; the word for stone, asin, is animate. One might think that stones have no actual power—after all, we throw them, build with them, pile them, crush them, slice them. But who is to say that the stones aren’t using us to assert themselves? To transform themselves? One day, the things we made out of stones may be all that’s left of our species. Of our complex history of chipping away at and arranging stones, what will be recorded or known?”
Words to contemplate as we sit with a stone in our hand, or tip-toe through stones in a stream or on a beach.
Meanwhile, I again offer one of my favorite poems by Charles Simic.
Go inside a stone
That would be my way.
Let somebody else become a dove
Or gnash with a tiger’s tooth.
I am happy to be a stone.
From the outside the stone is a riddle:
No one knows how to answer it.
Yet within, it must be cool and quiet
Even though a cow steps on it full weight,
Even though a child throws it in a river;
The stone sinks, slow, unperturbed
To the river bottom
Where the fishes come to knock on it
I have seen sparks fly out
When two stones are rubbed,
So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;
Perhaps there is a moon shining
From somewhere, as though behind a hill—
Just enough light to make out
The strange writings, the star-charts
On the inner walls.