Time’s Beautiful Task
River stones have traveled far. A polished surface tells their journey. Chipped, then sanded through eons of toil, they come to rest in the coastal flats where sleepy rivers murmur. I once held one in my hand as I relaxed among them on a sun-warmed sandbar in lower Mississippi. It was cool to the touch, utilitarian, reassuring.
I have crossed high passes in the Rockies, the Andes, and the Himalayas. I have picked my way through fields of sharp-edged rock recently shorn from those jagged mountains. I have never once held one of those adolescent stones in my hand and rubbed my thumb meditatively over its surface. But sometimes I put a river stone in my pocket, and carry it through the day. I think of the beautiful thing that time has made of it.
Life has a way of wearing one down. But the end result is not all that bad.