Ramblings of Charles Prier – Writer-Insomniac-General Know-it-All

Archive for January, 2011

The Firestones

My father and I took the long path, the one that led us through the pasture and behind the woods finally merging with the road that leads to our house again. The path was wide and littered with smooth white stones of varying size. The sun was low in the autumn sky. Occasionally, as we strolled we would pause to send a rock whirling through the air into the long shadows of the trees.It was a time to just be; a time to feel an independent relationship with my father.
We came to a grove of cedar trees on the left side of the path. The center of the grove held a pile of smooth white stones. It was not a neatly organized pile pretending to be a fence or a tower but a random gathering of stones larger than those on the path. My father hurled a stone into the pile. Sparks shot out on impact, bright in the twilight shadows. I delighted in seeing the fire from the stones. We lingered a long time while father tossed stones into the pile one after the other. I thought the woods would catch on fire. I was amazed. Father was amused.
I asked my father where the fire came from. Although wise for his years, my father was not an educated man. He satisfied his curiosity and developed an understanding of how things worked by using his imagination and making comparisons to things he could observe. He said that the fire was inside the stones and that when two hit each other a tiny crack would let some of the fire out, but the heat from the escaping fire would quickly seal the crack back so not too much could get out. My new independence would force me to think it through for myself.
It was almost dark when we walked down the road to our house. I didn’t tell mother or my sister about the fire stones.
For days later, I thought about the fire stones. I imagined that the pile of rocks was really a gate to hell and that the stones were brimstones that had bubbled up to live by the path. Why else would they have fire in them so anxious to escape? I reasoned.
One bright sunny day I wandered down the path by myself. I came to the grove and tossed in a stone. I couldn’t see a spark and as I stared in to the grove, I saw something rise up from the pile. I heard the stones roll and a rustle in the leaves. I could feel something looking at me. I ran but it followed. I could hear it behind me! I stopped at the road and looked back; there was nothing there but I could feel it looking at me.
Today, more than fifty years later, I sometimes feel that something looking at me – just watching. I shudder, and then remember that special day with my father. I suppose that if there is anything watching, it is the ghost of the little boy I left behind that day my father and I found the firestones and I grew up a little bit.–CP

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: