Friday, August 29, 2014

Everything Has A Story

A couple of weeks ago I went camping out by Lake Biwa (the largest lake in Japan) with my family and a few other families. I wasn't feeling very social for some reason, though, and spent a lot of time scouring our little beach for good stones to skip on the water—that's "skim" for all you Brit English-speakers. (Interestingly, it was a lot easier skipping stones on the waves of the ocean at the beach we had visited two weeks earlier!)

While wading out in the water with the kids, I sometimes looked down for stones to skip with. I saw this one and had to pick it up. At first I thought it was something about the colors. When I took it out, though, it didn't seem so extraordinary. But still I held it. Or it held me. Was it the shape?

What came to me as I looked at it was:

"Everything has a story."

It was like the Spirit and nature itself said it to me. I knew it, through and through.

This little rock has a story. I don't know where it's been, what it's been through, what it's touched and what it's seen, but suddenly I was captured in marvel, wondering about its story.

It wasn't the most beautiful stone, but I couldn't part with it yet. I put it in my swim trunks' pocket, and carried it around for a day or two while we were there.

I went inside our tent and took the picture above because I wanted to remember it. (But first I had to make it wet again because it looked different when dry... the stripes and colors faded.) Having done that, it didn't seem right to keep it, so I tossed it back into the lake. I had to let it continue its story.

I wasn't thinking of writing about this at all here, but just wanted to post it on Facebook. But a few days ago I read a chapter of Kent Nerburn's book, "The Wolf At Twilight" (which is a follow-up book to "Neither Wolf Nor Dog").

(Read the excerpt here in the first comment below this post.)

The ramifications of this... I'm kind of floored. I mean, I didn't think there was any deep meaning to this. I was moved as I held the rock and considered it.

What if what Dan said in the story is true? What if...? I don't even know how to ask, Unetlanvhi.

Yes. This is what Dan meant. This is what Creator wanted me to find, to pick up, to hear, wonder, consider, and be moved by. He loves every thing, and every thing loves Him back. Even this little stone from Lake Biwa. It has a journey, just like I have a journey. It has a story, known only to itself and to Him.

Wado, Unetlanvhi. Wado.


  1. Excerpt from "The Wolf At Twilight" by Kent Nerburn:

    Bronson sat next to me, alert and smiling... I picked up a stray piece of wood and threw it to see if he would turn his attention to the stick. He ran off into the weeds and reappeared carrying a stone...

    Dan emerged from the darkness of the motel room wearing a clean shirt with a strong tie... He looked down at Bronson and said something in Lakota. The little dog dropped the stone at his feet.

    "That's a good dog," he said.

    "He seems to have sticks confused with stones," I said.

    "Nah, he knows its a stone. He's just helping it out."

    Even for Dan this was an odd comment.

    "How's he helping it out?"

    "That stone probably wanted a little excitement. He'd probably been sitting there for years. Wanted to take a little trip."

    "A trip."

    "Sure. Stones get bored, too... You ever been walking along a beach and reached down and picked up a stone?"

    "Sure, who hasn't?"

    "Why do you think you picked up that particular one?"

    "I don't know. It was pretty, or it had an interesting shape, probably."

    He shook his head. "No. That stone called to you. It wanted to move. What if you had to sit somewhere for a million years?"

    I chuckled softly.

    Dan yanked on my sleeve. "You think I'm kidding. I'm not. Stones can talk. You've just got to know how to listen. That's the trouble with you white folks. You only know how to listen with your ears. There's lots of things talking out there. Sometimes even too many. Sometimes you can't even get them to shut up. Bronson just heard that stone and brought him over to you. He's a rez dog. He knows how to listen...

    "This was the way it was all the time. Everything talked to us. Everything was giving us a message. The stones, the trees, the birds, the grass. That's why we were trained to keep our mouths shut and our ears and eyes open. I never thought anything of it. It was just the way it was supposed to be."

    "The Creator's teachings," I said.

    "That's right. And we were good learners. We could have taught your people, too. But they never listened. Thought we didn't know anything. They just looked in their Black Book. They said it had everything they needed to learn the Creator's lessons." He shook his head like a teacher frustrated by a dullard schoolboy.

    "The way we see it, the Creator put his lessons everywhere. Built them right into the earth before he even put people here. Our job is to learn those lessons in the place we were given, and the way to learn those lessons is to sit still and listen.

    He reached in his pocket and pulled out the stone Bronson had given him.

    "Look at this." He kept it cradled delicately in his hand like an egg. "Some of the wise ones, they could actually hear this stone talk. It would help them find out where an illness was in someone's body, or they could walk along with it and it would pull their hands toward a medicine plant. You can't even imagine something like that, I bet."

    "Not very easily."

    "Well, I'm not surprised. It's not in that Black Book. But I remember back in boarding school those priests told that story about the guy who went up on a mountain and got those tablets."

    "Moses. The Ten Commandments."

    "Yeah. That's right. So what were those tablets made of?"


    "What did they have on them?"

    "God's words."

    He poked me again. "See. Even you people have God talking through stones. But the way you figure, he's got to write on them. We just listen."

    "Not bad, Dan," I said. "Not bad."

    He flipped the stone out into the grass again. "Enjoy your trip," he said as it rolled off into the weeds.

  2. Wow, funny how you remember things suddenly. As I was on my way to bed, I remembered the reason I picked up this particular stone amidst all the others:

    The stone looked more brownish at first (after I took it out, it became more grayish and blackish), and that plus the striped pattern reminded me of a stone I had chosen once at a summer camp as a child.

    I had selected some kind of stone-polishing course and chose to make a bola tie. The stone I chose was brown, orange and red... I chose it because I didn't know what else to choose, and the beautiful pattern reminded me of Arizona and its sunsets.

    And *that* I think will be another story...!