Hidden Heartbeats

…speaking of stones, what about
The little ones you can
Hold in your hands, their heartbeats
So secret, so hidden it may take years

Before, finally, you hear them?
Mary Oliver

In the laundry room, I often find pebbles in my pockets.  I’d like to think they just jumped in on their own, eager to journey with me, but that isn’t the case.  Instead, they were hijacked.  I tend to watch the ground as I walk, partly out of concern that I don’t misstep but also because I’m a bit of a hunter-gatherer.   As stones on the ground are unlikely to be missed by anyone, there are always a few that make their way home with me.  This isn’t exactly stealing;  it feels more like I am offering them a foster home for a little while, just a blip on the timeline of their long lives.

Beaches are my greatest gathering challenge as there are so many imperfect stones waiting for a pocket ride into my life.  They need to be a little odd to catch my eye in the midst of millions.  They need to be easily palmed and hugged by my hand and they need to have an interesting feel to my fingertips.  I’ve discovered they have a hidden, secret heartbeat that I can feel right up my fingers into my own heart.

These are not pet rocks, worry stones or precious metal to me, only plain ordinary mundane pebbles with the pulse of the ages.  I’m reminded how old they are in comparison with relatively young me.  Each is a solid unique individual, hanging out with me for the time being but eventually will make their way back to a garden display, an outside gravel path, a seashore or pond edge.

In the meantime, they have stories to tell and I’m listening.  So secret, so hidden, so ancient and now I can hear.