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Skipping Stones

Skipping stones across the surface of water is something I cannot seem to master. It’s a skill that I don’t have a natural aptitude for — never mind that it’s a relatively useless and impractical talent. Life or love will never hinge on my ability to make a stone skip and skid elegantly as if it were a living thing. It will not cause the sun to burn itself out. Earthquakes will not swallow California because I’m not coordinated or predisposed.

And yet.

I’ve always wanted to be able to do it. I watched other people do it. I’ve marveled at it. I’ve tried to imitate their actions, mimicking as best as I could. I’ve tried stones and rocks of all shapes and sizes. I’ve ventured out in low tides and high tides alike.

I cannot manage it. This simple-seeming thing eludes me like a dream I can’t quite remember. It teases like a secret kept by someone else.

And yet.

I keep trying, because I believe I will get it. I believe that something will change–and I’ll finally succeed. I will not be on the outside anymore. I will not be an observer. I will know the exact bit of skill and magic it takes to make it happen. The mystery of it all will dissolve into reality, and it will be all the sweeter for it.

The truth is that I am a stubborn, willful, heartcentric creature. I am as brave as I am foolish — as hopeful as I am afraid. But I will not bow my heart to the fear of failure. That is a challenge to be met, not fled.

And yet, perhaps this story is both true and untrue. Yes, I cannot skip rocks across the water — but, perhaps, it’s also a metaphor for something else. All words are steeped in meaning, but sometimes the inherent meaning matters less than the meaning we infuse. The trouble comes when one cannot seem the different angles, the different stones, and all the things that lie beneath the surface of the water.

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Categories: prose, Random Musings
  1. May 4, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Funny, for me it’s whistling. I cannot whistle. I’ve bought books, watched how-to videos, practiced until my tongue calloused, but all I can manage is a weak little squeak. And still, I try. I hate that something as basic as whistling mocks and teases me… Nothing impresses me more than to watch a girl hail a taxi in NYC, two fingers stuck in her mouth to emit an ear-piercing klaxon….

    Someday!

    • May 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Oh, man — I’ve always wanted to whistle like that! I can whistle, but not very loudly at all. hehe

  2. May 4, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I loving skipping rocks across water. Sometimes I can make them dance for yards, other times they trip once then plummet to the depths below. But it is not just a matter of one’s personal skill. The shape of the stone and the water’s surface make a difference, as well; not unlike so many other situations in life.

    Keep at it, Ali! I have faith in you. When we finally get together, we’ll add skipping stones to our epic adventures! šŸ™‚

    • May 4, 2012 at 5:58 pm

      I LOVE that you can do that! I’m officially adopted you as my Rock Skipping Guru. *grin* Sounds like a fabulous plan!

  3. May 4, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I agree with Blake and feel Patty’s pain! No matter how well you do at skipping stones, don’t forget to enjoy being close enough to water to try.

    • May 4, 2012 at 5:58 pm

      Jim, that was beautiful phrasing — and so true!!! šŸ™‚

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