I have seen a stone, a flat and colorful lake pebble, skipped seven times on the surface of a body of water. That is the measure of how well we skip stones, by how many skips you can get. A man leaned in, his body angled to the lake, and with a quick and sharp swing and flick he let loose the stone. His arm followed through to the sky and I fell in love with him then, for his skill and patience. For his determination to make that smooth rock glide, touch and rise, glide, touch and rise upon the water.
He is good enough now, but once I saw him throw the cat across the room because it scratched him. (I cannot be pressed to testify but I needed to tell someone). If he could have earned a living from skipping stones maybe he would be happy. If he had a loving father who had skipped stones with him, well maybe then, too, he would be happy. I cannot say what I feel for him: partly because I do not know and partly because I will not tell.
This blue pebble from Lake MacDonald in Glacier National Park, MT has kept me well and I have kept it well for a dozen years. I press it hard between my forefinger and thumb and it holds back the tears. But sometimes when I hold it, the tears come forcefully and I can only grip the pebble hard. My fingernails cut through the flesh of my palm.
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