I have a theory about rocks. I believe they can move from one place to another on their own. How else can you explain the appearance of stones where none existed before? Squirrels don't carry and bury stones like they do bulbs and acorns. I believe the rocks move when they know we are not looking.
I love them and began keeping a rock collection as a child. I remember finding the perfectly hamburger shaped stone that I kept in a box in the basement, the square box of a rock with the white stripe through it, the sparkly piece that made my heart stand still, whose beautiful name I learned was Mica. Next to English, Earth Science was my favorite class. At the word 'igneous', I was hooked. Over the years I have collected stones from all the more distant places I have been, and then began asking folks who were traveling to bring just any little stone off the street back for me. I have stones from as far away as Australia, Greenland, Russia. Baskets of rocks adorn my home, my office, my deck. I've never met a rock I didn't like.
Eight years ago when I moved into this home and began to cultivate a garden, my shovel found rock after rock. As each garden bed was created, I painstakingly removed them knowing that they might obstruct what I wanted to grow. I piled them here and there making sedentary designs. It seemed no matter how many I picked from the soil, there were always more. I am sure this area was a river bed thousands of years ago and these dense minerals are evidence of that. And even though I have worked these garden beds over and over, it amazes me that I still find them in places I am sure I have filtered through.
One day I found a sizable stone in the middle of my compost pile. Now, wait a minute! That pile had been created from nothing but food scraps, leaf mulch and grass clippings! How did it get there? I started to think that just as plants have consciousness, the rocks must too and they must want to relocate from time to time. After all, they don't have roots like plants. There is nothing to keep them in any particular place except, of course, that they don't have legs or wings. But curiouser things have happened.
This theory of mine began to solidify in my mind when I found one about a foot deep in a raised bed that I had filled with nothing but compost! I can see a stone perhaps falling on the surface somehow, but a foot deep? Come on. It must have made it's stony little way there.
And then a few days ago I had a mystical experience that has proven to me that my 'rocks can move' theory is true. There I was, innocently and finally weeding the overgrown garden beds in the front yard. In the bed under my huge, old lilac tree (the one who gifts me such fragrant, dark purple blossoms in early Summer that are so big they border obscene), the weeds were just about taking over. It had been so long since I'd given any attention to this area that the daffodil, tulip and grape hyacinth skeletons from early Spring still splayed out, life and colorless on the soil.
I set the empty wheelbarrow nearby and began happily pulling weeds, tossing them in, filling it up. I find weeding very therapeutic. I remove the useless thoughts that can take up too much space in my mind as I remove the biomass that steals the nutrients from plants I want to thrive.
And then it happened. I walked toward the wheelbarrow with my hands full, and I saw something small and grey move. Jump, really, from the top of the weed pile down into it. I had the fleeting thought "is that a mouse?" but then just as quickly I saw that it was a rock! A small grey rock. And it jumped down and in and out of sight!
I stood staring, trying to make sense of it, telling myself that I was not crazy, I really had seen a rock jump. Then the questions: how did it get in that pile of weeds to begin with? I hadn't been digging up the soil, just pulling from the surface, and I had encountered no rocks. And then, and more importantly, what made it move? I had been no where near the wheelbarrow when I saw the rock jump. Before I concluded that I had truly lost my mind, I decided to relay to my friends in the back yard that I had seen a rock move of it's own volition. As I turned to do so, WHUMP! The wheelbarrow fell over on it's side, spilling its contents on the grass, and I just about jumped out of my skin!
This is not the first time I have pondered whether my sanity is intact. But I saw what I saw! Whose to say what is sane and what is not? Maybe rocks do perambulate. Maybe it wanted me to see it move because my strong belief in its ability to do so warranted the gift of witnessing it with my own eyes.
When I righted the wheelbarrow again, I found the rock. It looks like it might be granite. You bet it's in my collection. In fact, this one sits right on my desk at which I am writing this piece. I keep glancing over to see if it is still in the same place as the last time I looked at it. It is.