stone & child

Rocky Beach

on the beach
I found a stone
shaped like a face

it stared at me
asking my mind questions
like “how did I get here?”
and “what kind of a stone am I?”
and “what do you suppose my body would look like if I had one?”

I answered these questions
to the best of my opinion
and the stone listened carefully
absorbing every word

finally, it asked
“why did you stop to talk to me?
no one’s ever done that before.”

“I’m not sure,”
I replied.
“I feel like a child. it’s something a child would do.”

“what is a child?”
asked the stone.

“a child?”
I repeated.
then I paused.

“let me tell you.
it should be easy.
I was a child once myself, you know.”

“no, I didn’t,”
said the stone
quite matter-of-factly

“well,” I began,
“a child is one
who can step out-of-doors in the morning
and return when the sun sets
appearing to have gained nothing more
than a dirty face and an empty stomach
but, in truth,
has gained nothing less
than a world of new ideas
that waits to be explored

curiosity and imagination
meet him as he steps out of bed
and they do not leave him
for one minute of the day

time pouts in a corner
for he means very little to the child
(except, perhaps, at naptime,
when the child is his prisoner)

a child could spend an hour
examining a leaf
listening to silence
getting acquainted with the wind
or whatever it is that interests him
and, unlike the adult,
he has interests as varied as the world around him
for it is, in fact,
the world around that interests him.”

I stopped.
the stone stared silently.
perhaps I did not describe it well, I thought.

“maybe you would understand better
if I brought my own child,”
I said apologetically

“oh, I understand quite well,”
said the stone.
“you see,
I have already met a child.”

I smiled bashfully,
then waved goodbye and continued down the beach

that stone had flattered me.
how strange.
but stranger things have happened…
to a child

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