Small stone #8

Amid the laughter of volleyballing teens, the creaks of bicycles and the soft pop of parasails full of marina breeze, a tiny bird flies over the ice cream stand and alights on a fence wire to watch the beach.  A toddler sees and waddles forward, two steps, one step, three steps, spellbound and hesitant.  The bird cocks its head and flits away, and the boy left behind stands staring at the fence.

I’m participating in the River of Stones project in January. Look for a new post each day. Click the badge at left for more details.

Published by Samuel Snoek-Brown

I write fiction and teach college writing and literature. I'm the author of the story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, the novel Hagridden, and the flash fiction chapbooks Box Cutters and Where There Is Ruin.

4 thoughts on “Small stone #8

  1. I loved your descriptions of the bird watching the beach, and the toddler staring at the fence long after the bird has gone!

    And I love the name of your blog, ‘the beginners mind’ has to be my Tai Chi teacher’s favourite sayings, it made me laugh aloud to come across it while rummaging through the ‘Stones’ list.

    Sam x

    1. Thanks, my fellow Sam!

      Enjoying your stones as well–your second stone is particularly good! Also, what is it with birds? I’ve included two bird-stones already, and you have one as well. Seems an apt metaphor for my busy, flitting mind (must sit still… must sit still….), but I swear it isn’t intentional.

      How long have you been studying Tai Chi? I’ve always wanted to study it formally, but I can never seem to find the right combination of time, money, and a teacher.

      1. Hmm, I’m not entirely sure I could class my Tai Chi lessons as ‘formal’, and that’s no disrespect to my lovely and inspiring teacher! It’s a twice weekly lesson in which we also do Chi Gung and meditation. I’ve spent most of my time up until now battling with my ingrained sceptic’s mind, and hostilities haven’t entirely abated just yet, but a lot of things are starting to make sense. So no, the birds aren’t intentional here either, even though I was watching small finches flitting through the woods yesterday, but you are right; when I can teach my mind to be content on one single branch, life will be so much more straightforward… I hope!

        I’m loving the ‘stones’ project, it’s so nice to feel a sense of connectedness, rather than being shut up alone with a pen.

        Sam x

      2. Yours is a lot more formal than the DVD I own and the one book I read on Tai Chi. I was fortunate enough to study Taoism briefly with a delightful Vietnamese college professor; he introduced me to formal meditation and later became what I consider my first Buddhist teacher. If we’d ever gotten our schedules in synch, he might also have taught me Tai Chi, but alas, it never happened. I envy you your practice. Some time this year, if I can swing it, I’d like to track down a class and do some of the work you’re doing.

        I’m loving the stones as well, particularly reading the stones of others. And I think you’re absolutely right about the connectedness thing: I’m enjoying the way these stones remind me not only of my mindfulness practice but of the importance of mindful writing and careful attention to detail, to word choice, and to concision.

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