I grew up in the country, not far out of town but far enough. Always near large, unused fields, cleared long ago by farmers who had long since given up and moved on to something more profitable; our short growing season no doubt had something to do with this.  So the fields were, and are, left ragged with bits of leftover hay growing  among the long grass.

And often, in the middle of the field, there stands a large pile of rocks.

When I was a child, I didn’t concern myself with how they got there. I just knew they were wonderful to climb and play on. I did sometimes wonder what might lie at the bottom–surely they must be covering some treasure, or perhaps some thing better left undisturbed, depending on which game we were playing that day.

What they actually were, though, was a bit less mysterious. Every spring, when the  farmers prepared their fields, they found rocks that had not been there the previous year, driven to the surface by the winter. They would throw these rocks into a pile in the middle of the field, and after a few years this pile would be pretty big. (Back in those days, having a big pile of rocks in the middle of your hayfield was only a minor inconvenience; today’s machines couldn’t deal with it at all.)

The stones themselves, though, have a great deal of meaning to me, and not only because I am so fond of them. They also represent those pieces of the world that keep on surfacing, no matter what we do to move them to somewhere more convenient for us. They are persistent; they are insistent; and they never stop their progress.

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