Wander around my space and you’ll come across nearly two dozen rocks and stones of varying sizes. Their beauty affords great visual pleasure. All evoke the memory of where they were found and carried home: beach or woods or field. Their weight and balance makes for many practical uses.
From the array on my black slate work table, I can choose a stone to secure a pile of ideas for a project…
…some wait for a long time before they are moved (there are A LOT of projects)
Some have been with me for years, traveling from one home to another where they have been used in various ways…
…weight for a pot lid…
…or to “brick-fry” a chicken…
…elemental toilet paper holder…(the long dark stone is perfect for pressing oversize books flat against the scanner bed)…
I use a smooth stone to mash garlic quickly…
I originally used this green stone to pound basil and pine nuts for pesto in a huge stone mortar that was in the kitchen courtyard of a house in the South of France many years ago, its pestle nowhere to be found. It does many jobs in my kitchen, including weighting down the lid being pushed up by steaming greens…
This little guy held closed the akimbo freezer door of the mini fridge in an office I had years ago…
Inspired by the boulders Russel Wright used to prop up his red-painted credenza, I contemplate hauling home some really big rocks (which would take some arranging).
And there are, of course, stones in books I read, like these in Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists:
[Cage:] My most recent interest is in stones.
[Cage:] Yes, I collect them for my garden from all over the world. Some of them are quite big. I ride along the road and I stop and I look at stones. I have a very large stone waiting for me now in a van in North Carolina.
There are so many faces to this particular rock that it’s like an exhibition of several works of art.
Mary Oliver has thought a lot about stones as well…
Do stones feel?
Do they love their life?
Or does their patience drown out everything else?
When I walk on the beach I gather a few
white ones, dark ones, the multiple colors.
Don’t worry, I say, I’ll bring you back, and I do.
Is the tree as it rises delighted with its many
each one like a poem?
Are the clouds glad to unburden their bundles of rain?
Most of the world says no, no, it’s not possible.
I refuse to think to such a conclusion.
Too terrible it would be, to be wrong.