Issue 88 / July - August 2012
... and a Rock Falls
I am watching the little tree illuminated by the sunlight penetrating through the other grown trees. Aside from the hushing of the leaves, I hear the sporadic whizzes of cars. The v-shaped valley and the dry streambed in the middle of it are accompanying me in this day. I wish I was closer to the river down the hill. Then I could see different fish and birds, and drink water whenever I want. But I am okay with where I am as well. I sit under the sun, relieving myself from life-long burdens while watching this nice panorama.
It was on one of these sunny days that I had a guest. He was a generous young man. Soon after he came nearby, he served his blood to the mosquitos. Considering all the things humans pick from nature, their blood is the fruit that nature can pick in return, right? Anyway, the reason that I called this guest generous is that he did not kill the mosquitos while they were sucking his blood. He sat near me, and started pondering over the nice valley below. I didn't know at first if I should talk to him. The snail creeping on me preferred to keep silent too. So I decided not to speak to him.
Soon after, a friend of this young man arrived. They started talking about finding water here. I thought "How do you think water can be found at this height of the hill?" But they started digging with the special equipments they had. I had heard about these things when a group of students had come on a field trip. They talked about the different kinds of rocks and the minerals in them, their story of formation through the depths of the earth or under deep water, and how one could find invaluable fluids by digging through them. Seeing these two young men, I better understood what they meant.
Anyway, after a few hours of extreme noise, I felt the wetness that touched me from below. The water was indeed rising in the well the two young men had made, and soon they were screaming from joy. As they indulged in their celebration, I was engulfed by that uncomfortable feeling I had when they'd arrived. After all, this was my place, and they had invaded it.
As if this invasion wasn't enough, the man who had arrived first stepped on me and spread a cloth. I was enraged at the thought of this man celebrating his victory over me. But my rage stumbled upon what I saw as I watched him. He started offering thanks and praying. It was then that a sense of warmth seeped between us, and I began talking to him everytime he came. During his visits, he used to drink some fresh water, sit on me looking towards the valley, and delve into reflections and prayers. I thanked God for giving me this flat surface so that someone could pray on me. Our relationship became so special that when he was not around, I used to pray for his return.
Years passed by. Things didn't change much with me, but the man changed a lot. His once smooth face now looked like the wavy ocean surface. His body was bent like trees on steep hills. Things were changing incredibly fast for humans. I felt pity for this man who was troubled by his daily affairs. I prayed that I could be closer to him to help relieve his pains. My prayers were accepted and this respectable man spent more and more time on me. Sometimes lying, sometimes sitting, but always contemplating or praying.
At times, he brought his grandchildren. These kids did not enjoy being here as much as their grandfather. They constantly kept looking at the glasses in their hands that entertained them. But sometimes, they had funny talks with their grandfather. For example, this one time they talked about putting the stones in water or burrying them in the soil so that they can grow like plants. When I heard those words, I thought about my genesis through the ocean beds and the inferno compartments in the earth. My life story was so naively and elegantly put into those few words of the children. It is curious how the little ones can formulize complex things so easily.
Those times of amusement used to make me think about myself. I was a mature rock, and I wanted to have youngsters around me. I prayed to have little ones that were eager to "rock 'n' roll." But perhaps those little ones would not show up as soon as they did for the humans, and they would not be as rambunctious as their human peers. Anyway, with my innate desire, I kept praying to have them around.
Strange enough, my prayers were answered sooner than I thought, and I started seeing these little pebbles parting from me. In my maturity, I had the blessing of giving birth to children all around me. Now, whenever the old man came with his grandchildren, they played with mine, and that gave me immense pleasure.
At last one day, I saw a group of people coming near by with a wooden box on their shoulders. Yes, that was him, brought to meet his Lord... He was burried in the cemetery at the peak of the hill.
You know, it's not easy to lose someone you love. It's feels like burying a part of your heart before you actually die. I cried a lot, and I still do, silently, in my own way. I don't want my sorrow to assume the form of a complaint against the decree of our Lord. Yet, I cry nonetheless. Maybe this grief is what has made me so weak nowadays. I am feeling that my end is near, too. The increasing number of little ones all around is making this message impossible to ignore. But at the same time, I am developing a hope of continuity; because the water that is springing under me penetrates into my pores, and water means life.
However, the peace that comes with this hope is always followed by the grief of losing my friend, and I am crying all my water out. To quench my sorrow, God sent me lots of people. They are all around, now that my tears are making a waterfall. But I'd rather have my friend pray on me than these people laugh with negligence at my sorrow. "Oh my Lord, my friend in the heavens... Oh my Lord, my friend in the heavens..."
Sermed Ogretim is a postdoctoral fellow in aerospace engineering at West Virginia University.