Thursday, May 22, 2008


James Horace Quinn was having a perfect day. The air was clear, cool, the sun atomic. From the hillside he could see the city ten miles away. He’d been walking for an hour. The forest got a good bit of foot traffic on the weekend, but so far he’d seen no one else. His was the only car by the roadside. The spirit moved him, and he paused on the trail and found a rock, a big one, size of a squashed cantaloupe, and then another a little smaller, and he stacked them, until he had five rocks balanced, each a little smaller than the one beneath. He thought of it as a sort of sculpture that perfectly captured his state of mind: balanced, calm, centered. For a moment he’d forgotten himself. Yes, he felt the spirit in the exercise. He resumed walking. Around a bend he felt the spirit again, so he built another cairn, balanced even more spectacularly than the first, this time with an oblong rock that leaned out from center with another on top that brought the center back. He’d lost himself again. He was pleased. He had the day and he spent the rest of it forgetting himself in piles of rock until he’d advertised himself up and down the trail. So he went home and toasted his handiwork with a couple of beers, which he balanced atop one another on the kitchen table with a practiced hand.
(The stones above were available for $16.97 from IsabellaCatalog.)

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