The Wisdom of the Stone
Publication Date:March 1990
Lavinia loved to walk where the ocean waves washed the shore. She had come with her parents.
She saw that her parents had stopped to gaze over the waves. They looked long past the surf, out towards the horizon. They gazed, as if in search of some winged soul.
Lavinia leaned down to pick up a stone. She chose a round grey one from among the coloured wonders at her feet. It fit beautifully into her hand. She imagined how it had been tossed in waves and sand for a thousand years. She closed her fingers around the stone. Lavinia knew what her parents were looking for. They longed for the soul of her brother. A soul that was forever bound to the sea.
Before Lavinia was born, her brother had been pulled out to sea by a great wave. While his life gave in to the crystalline depths, she had danced in her mother's womb.
As his life light ebbed
Into the depths of time,
Her life danced forth
And began to shine.
Holding the smooth little stone in her hand Lavinia walked towards the dry sand. She lay in its warm bed until her parents called for her.
Later, after the delights of the day had ebbed into night, Lavinia lay in her bed. While the wind tore the waves and the clouds apart, Lavinia rested her head on a pillow. The grey stone rested beside her on the bedside table.
She slept. In her dreams the waves of night crashed all about her. They pulled her, they threw her, drawing her into their cold depths. She opened her eyes. The moonlight softly glowed on the surface of the stone. As the stone glowed it sang with a most beautiful timeless song. The chords and rhythms of the sea poured out of the stone.
It sang of raging waves, waves so powerful that they threatened to pull her limbs from her body. It was the song of the waves that crashed on the shores tonight. It was the song of the waves that had crashed on the shores for eons past. The song of the stone took her out beyond the place where the surf raged. It pulled her down into its depths.
There the waters were clear. They shimmered. They danced about her.
The song of the stone gently swept her towards the past, and towards the soft, grey ocean bed. It had taken her to the place of its birth. She rested there in complete calm. Layer after layer of ancient sediment pressed warmly over her.
The song of the stone moved her upwards. She floated in the pulsing power of the ocean's swell. It carried her towards a distant shore. The song of the waves showed her how the sand and surf could reshape her once again. She rose newly formed out of the primal layers. Then she lay on a gleaming shore. Warm rays of sun shone on her. The last chords of the stone's beautiful song faded into the moonlight.
As the sea sucked his life
To the edge of time,
I danced towards
The beginning of mine.
Marilyn McKnight, B.A., is a graduate student in the Department of Social Anthropology, York University. She is conducting research into women's attitudes toward the fetus. Address correspondence to Box 26, Minising, Ontario, Canada L0L 1Y0.