Saturday, December 24, 2016

The rock

 Not THE rock, but the same feeling of strength.

About 50 steps from my childhood home down a path flanked with small pines and a couple of oaks was my big rock.

A glacier, probably tired of carrying it, dropped it along with another one nearby.

When I say big rock, on one side it was at least double my height, but at the end of the path it was almost level with the dirt.

There were two stairs, a natural part of the rock. The top of the rock was about the size of a king-sized bed and on a 10° slope.

As a little girl I played around the two rocks. They were the western badlands, Greek temples, castles and anything else my imagination could dream up.

When I was 20 it was my sanity. My mother had insisted I break my engagement and the tension in the house was thicker than pillow stuffing.

I would take a book, my lunch and spend hours on the rock. I also planned my elopement. I couldn't write my future husband, because all my papers were scrutinized. Nor could I leave the house to get a letter to him.

This was the summer my 13-year old brother had his first girl friend, Sherry. Their song was "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," a strange choice but then he was 13. He played it incessantly. His bedroom window was such that the song filtered down to my rock sanctuary.  That I didn't break the record after the 1,000+ time hearing it was a testimony to my control.

There was a tree that shaded the rock, but still in July the surface was warm not just in temperature. It warmed my hopes.

Yes, I did elope.

Years later, when I discovered my childhood home had been torn down and replaced. The new owners showed me how they had filled in land around the two rocks, but leaving part of them exposed as a landscape feature.

As I walked around the surface, memories flushed themselves from where I had buried them. The marriage hadn't worked, but I survived. The rock gave me strength that summer that many decades later I still have.

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