Thursday, November 4, 2010


here's the story of my rock.  yes, i have one.  only one.  like a lot of things in life- when you find the one you stop looking for any others.  i still look at rocks.  i pick them up and observe them before tossing them back.

i found mine at rosario beach near the maiden pole.  if you don't live around here- this makes no sense.  if you do and you haven't been there yet- go as soon as you can.

see i live in this strange area of muddled coastline.  it's not like the coast where i grew up- where beaches are mostly straight and sandy.  the bay here is not open ocean water but a sound.  the coves are like bubbles in rock, with forests on the cusp.  islands are stringed along like oil beads in water.  sometimes it feels like you could hop from one to the next.  with the tide is low the slurpy mud lays flat and glistens brown- sometimes you can really walk to islands.

rosario beach is off of the highway 20 spur en route to deception pass.  i know it is called this because explorers thought it was the opening of a large river- or maybe even the northwest passage, that mythical body of water that would have provided a short cut through north america.  deception pass- is not a pass at all.  it's another bay.  i bet the natives knew that already.  i call it deception pass because the peaceful scenes often erupt into skull shaking explosions as the jets fly low overhead on their way to and fro whidbey island air force base.  i bet even deaf people can feel the vibrations of those engines up above.

rosario beach is a spit of land that juts out and ends in a large dot of a rock with a looping trailing circling around it.  you can tromp out there at feel like you are standing on the explaination point of the puget sound.  at the mouth of this trail is the looming maiden pole- carved by a local artist, to pay homage to the waters and her bounty.  the story is from the coastal salish people about the maiden who goes to live in the sea.  it is a good story and not my story to tell.

here's my story.  one day, years back, i started to walk out on the rocky dot with my mother-in-law.  the trail heads up slightly and for a bit you are walking through madrona trees that jut out from the cliff.  i happened to look down to see an orange rock quite different than the others.  it was embedded in the trail and i squatted down to dig it out.  as i scrapped away the mud and rock with my fingernails the swirls of color grew more intriguing.  this was not like any rock i had ever discovered.  it was soft- for a rock.  it was small enough to close my fist around and when i looked at it in my open palm it had the vague heart-shape of a rounded triangle.  as i pulled it up out of the ground and turned it over i saw that there was a deep cave in the rock and i could see smallest white crystals inside.

"oh, it looks like a vagina!" mary laughed next to me.  it did too.  the ripples of the color were like flames of red and oranges.  there were parts of it that seemed to glow- wanting to be translucent.  on one end was the cave and the other a point where you could see the pattern tighten.  i felt so blessed to have found it and  i wondered how it had gotten there- buried in the trail, surrounded by average stones that were all once underwater.

months, years went by.  i showed the rock to some folks and while everyone agreed it was beautiful no one knew much about it.  i hesitated taking it someplace like a store or a museum because i liked the mystery of it.  i didn't need to know it's name.

there was a span of time in my life where i traveled to olympia one weekend each month to dance in workshops put on by a 5Rhythms studio.  words often fail to explain what this dance practice means to me- it is church for my entire being.  not just church for my mind or heart or soul or spirit.  church for all that is inside of my physical body and all that could never be contained in any form.

these weekends were transforming and deeply healing- and thus- often extremely difficult.  fortunately the community of people involved were right there in it also,  we supported each other with hugs and talks and warm drinks and lots of laughter.  during spare moments i enjoyed strolling around olympia- finding treasures, looking at people, humming to myself, stunned by beauty, lulled by life.

i happened into a store that sold natural health care products, jewelry, books, note cards, scarves...the kind of store i could spend an entire paycheck in.  as i peered into the class jewelry case i noticed they had displays of several semi-precious stones and crystals.  and there nestled along side other beauties was my rock: carnelian.

i was shocked and thrilled to find its relations there- even more so to learn that these stones had been found locally and not imported from a far off land.  then i became stunned as i read about the stone.  you may know that stones are often associated with many different aspects of life.  i have no idea who decided all of this or how they did it- but stones are related to birth signs, elements, parts of the body, and the like.

carnelian is most often associated with leo which is what i am- july 24.  it is often associated with fire- probably due to the color of the stone- and which i often enjoy staring into while camping.  ok, maybe everyone likes that.  but as i read more i got chills.  this little hand-written sign said that carnelian was good for creativity and for opening the heart.  now i have since read other things about carnelian- some which repeats this message and some which says other things about it.  like how royalty was buried with it.  how it cures kidney stones.  it can all start to sound a bit woo-woo.

however, at that moment when i read the sign i really was struggling with my closed heart.  damn, if my body can't hold a lot of anger.  maybe you have this part in your body too?  like a swelling black bag that you can just keep stuffing regrets and misunderstandings and disappointments into. and our hearts, they clamp down, they shut down to keep it all in because it hurt.  until you can't keep it all in anymore because you have a heart attack.  or until you can't anymore because you run screaming into the woods one day stripping off your clothes. 

or until you can't anymore because you dance and find a way to open up your heart and wrestle it out of yourself so you can see it all again and look at its ugliness in order to see its beauty.

look at it just once more before you let it go.

i wonder where it all goes sometimes,
these ideas and memories that solidify inside of us-
where do they go
when we scream
or sweat
or paint
or write them out of bodies?
do they float up into those welcoming clouds? 
is that what makes the sunset so red and glowing-
the heat of our rage dying.

maybe they wait for the rain to push them back
down to the earth 
they gather in the depths of the ocean
until the tide pushes them
slowly, slowly, slowly to the shore
where we walk barefoot and mindless
to find them again

red, swirling rocks
to carry in our pockets
so that our hearts
can be light, 

so that our hearts
can be

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