July 31, 2015

Piles of pebbles

We have these piles of coastal pebbles
In our house,
Hidden in dishes, bowls, and jars
Or stashed in dresser drawers.
Washington Island's are monotone grey,
And it was surprisingly hard to walk on them with bare feet.
Florida's have yellows and whites with the dark
And are mixed with polished bits of coral and shells.
The waves of Northern California gave us mostly black
With dark reds that gleamed when wet from the pounding surf.
And from Luderitz, we have a handful of agates
With stripes that kept us searching for hours.
What is it about these little rocks
That draws us through the waves to pounce
And pocket a treasure?
Is it the magnitude of their history, pulled back
And forth against the sand by waves for longer 
Than we have been alive?
Do we think we are saving them from their destiny as
Bits of sand--stopping time's process by placing in a jar 
In our sock drawer out of elements?
Maybe we crave something smooth in our hand
And rocks will never pull away, hesitating to commit?
Or, are these shiny stones a record of a moment, a shrine
To an hour when time stood still for us--no phones, no cars, 
No arguments--just the sand, the wind, and the 
Waves that gave up their jewels to a stranger
Who needed to smile?
L. Powell