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First Place Winner: Simply a Rock By Christie Beiring Eagleson





[Christie Beiring Eagleson, left, with the first place award at the Ga. Marble Festival.]

The all too familiar clanking from the laundry room sends me running to rescue my old machine, ragged from washing clothes for a family of six for far too many years.   As the mom of four boys I instinctively know what I am looking for and blindly dig around in the cold, dirty wetness until I successfully feel it in my hand.

I resist the temptation to slam it into the nearby trash can.   Instead, I fall backwards and lean against the wall, one hand pinching the bridge of my nose in an attempt to squelch the headache that builds while the other hand clenches the hard, smooth stone.  What is it about a rock that makes every small child want to own as many as possible?  Why do they find their way into the wash, under my feet as I walk down the darkened night hall, or in any place I attempt to rest for just a moment?  Why must they leave their markings on my walls and floors as a reminder of their power over my children?  I ponder the questions as I wipe the sweat from my brow.   What I don’t need right now is one more thing to fix.  One more thing to do.  One more thing to fret about.  One more headache.

I open my eyes and examine the unique swirls of black and brown lines running through its body as if created carefully by an artist’s hand.  I look more closely.   I wonder how far the rock has come, buffed to a shine after tumbling about for years in tumultuous waters perhaps.  My heart swells as I consider all the great creatures that may have walked over this stone and the historical environments that it may have been a part of.  I ponder the possibility that it contains minute pieces of important things I’ve only read about in books.  I gaze at it knowing it took many different bits and pieces along with just the right circumstances to form.  It must have endured season after season of heat, cold, rain, drought and storms.  I am amazed at how, under pressure, it became more solid and strong.  It survived.  It was not crushed into oblivion.

A new appreciation is born as I consider the lifetimes this stone spanned and how it’s unknown but certainly amazing history was paramount to it becoming what it is today.   And here it sits on the fat of my palm, its existence seemingly simple, undemanding and effortless.

I rub my thumb over the polished surface and press its coolness to my lips.  Children are wise.  The heartaches, losses, trials, obstacles, responsibilities and challenges inundating this season of my life are put into a new light.  I pocket my son’s treasure and hope that I too might endure and become as strong, beautiful and beloved as this simple rock.

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