THE THINKING STONE

I can’t remember a time in my childhood when the stone wasn’t there. It stood proudly in the northwest corner of my grandmother’s yard, standing nearly four feet tall with a width to match. It had a grayish hue.

When I was a preschooler, relatives often placed me on the stone when they talked to me. Doing so put us more at eye level. Even at that age, I was drawn to the warm vibes that enveloped me while I perched on the cool, smooth surface. Even more importantly, the stone made me taller, empowering me by lifting me up.

When I was big enough to climb onto its welcoming expanse, it became my special place—my place to think. Since I was an introspective child, this rock afforded me the perfect environment to contemplate, to analyze, and to make important life decisions. The stone also became a symbol of my dear Irish grandmother. She was a true light in my life—someone who encouraged me and believed in me.

The Thinking Process

It was a natural progression that by the time I was old enough to sit on the stone (without having to climb up) it became the place where I spent many circumspect hours. I felt safe there, wrapped in the serenity of the stone, encircled in the cocoon of my grandmother’s love.

On clear spring or summer days, when the sun warmed my back and the sky was so blue I could see right through it, I sat on my polished gray throne and contemplated life’s choices with all their shades of gray, all their subtle innuendo. Ultimately I pulled out the path that I believed would work best for me.

On dark fall or winter days, the sky heavy with promise and meaning, a crisp breeze stinging my cheeks, I felt alive to the core. Thoughts sprang to mind with great clarity. On such days, I could make the hard choices.

On my thinking stone, I saw the wisdom of breaking up with my high school boyfriend of three years, of going away to college when money was scarce, of pursuing my goals of teaching and writing when family members were dead set against it. I chose my life’s partner on that stone. These are a few of the more significant decisions that came to me in that special place.

Affects on writing

I believe my hours on the thinking stone (over the course of my formative years) are what propelled me into writing novels, rather than short stories or poetry. Considering concepts from all angles with no hurry to judgment creates a resonance, a drawing out of perceptions into what I call a tree-like structure, creating branches (subplots) that emanate from the trunk (the main plot.)

The stone remains

Of course, people have told me that it wasn’t the stone at all, that an inanimate rock couldn’t possibly have anything to do with my considered conclusions, my method of selection. But I know different.

My beloved grandmother is gone now, her property sold, the stone removed—I know not where. Yet it is still with me, just as she is still with me. When I need to think something through, even now, I can close my eyes, feel the stone beneath me, and feel my grandmother’s love around me. I know that I am empowered by both, know that I can still find my way.

Who or what sustains you?

Suella

Available on Amazon

erica

About Lawrence and Suella Walsh
Managing Editors of Mystery, Ink. Novels. Taught writing for 20 years at Johnson County Community College. Freelance writers with 12 published books and more than 100 articles and short stories in national magazines. Owners of Walsh Writing Services. www.walshwritingservices.com

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