The Stone

There lay the stone.
The StoneI knew exactly how large it was. Its rounded smoothness had often held my form and soothed me. Many times in my youth I had lain on it after a swim, belly down, fully stretched, my hands caressing its warm weathered sides. Drying, sighing with pleasure. It took the sun’s warmth. Held it. Radiated it into my belly. Into my face. Into my brain.
It was solid, strong, dependable, enduring.
I often tasted the stone. Kissed it. It tasted of the sea. It lay within earshot of the surf behind low dunes. Sometimes, after a particularly hot day, it would retain the sun’s warmth long into the evening. On such evenings I would lie on my back on its warm comforting form and gaze deep into the vastness of the night. The rhythmic sound of waves carumphing and pawing at the beach would roll over me.  Myriad stars winking. The grandness, the endlessness of it all.
And now, as I rose vertically from the stone, the memories of its physicality and warmth foremost in my mind, it gradually diminished in size. I was floating up to where I had often seen the seagulls lazily circling on a warm up-current of air. Sometimes the gulls had risen to the limits of my visibility. Where could it end, I had thought. What do they see? Do they want to return? (I knew little, in those days, of hunger being one of natures prime motivators.) If it is the warmth that takes them up there, could I not join them? The gentleness of my own current upward motion put me in mind of those thermals and the exhilarating freedom that the gulls had seemed to enjoy.
I was totally focussed on the diminishing stone. There was a nagging fear that should I shift my gaze, my consciousness, then not only would I plummet, but I would cease to exist at that moment. The stone, it seemed, had become my life force, and from it, as long as I focussed on its presence, I could rise into that infinite vastness I had so often pondered.

Copyright © J Cedric Watkins 2009

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