I wanted to share a short story that I recently found while going through the belongings my best friend’s recently departed brother. I found the story charming and thought that more than just I should read it…so I typed it up to share here. My only edits are adding a bit of punctuation and a couple words [indicated in brackets] just for clarity and ease of reading. I do hope you enjoy it!
Rock and the Leaf
Once there was a rock. Not a big rock but a rock securely anchored with other rocks which were under water. The water slewed around him and over them and made a quiet little eddy behind. He made a nice, precise little place and the water just flowed around him.
He set there for a long time and the mosses and bugs that lived around began to trust him. They began to grow and live around him. Beautiful green moss nourished by the water flourished on his back. He provided shelter for the bugs that lived in and around the water. He sheltered them well through the dry hard times when the water ebbed and his brother rocks could see what he was doing then and he sheltered them when the creek raged.
Beautiful creatures began to live there; the wondrous water boatmen, pixie flies and quick water striders. They all praised him for his strength and great power. It was about this time that strangers came and began to marvel at the beautiful effect that came with all the wonderful creatures living around him. Water burbled, birds sang, sunlight glinted off “his” water. People came from all around to look at this beautiful sight. Somebody set up a stone bench so that people could stop, rest, and gaze [at] this little scene. It was so beautiful.
Then one day, on a warm sparkling autumn day, a leaf float[ing] by became enchanted by the quiet little cove created by the rock and his friends. So she slipped. “Hi,” she said in a throaty voice. “Hi,” said the rock, pleased with the creek, the water, and everything. He was doing a good job and he knew it. “This is a nice place,” she said, “I like what you’ve done here.” “Thank you,” said the rock, “I like how you swirl [and] your colors are so pretty.” “Thank you,” said the leaf, “Do you mind if I rest here a bit? I’m a little tired.” “By all means, please do,” said the rock, “That is why I’m here.” His chest swelled noticeably. The leaf smiled and nestled right in. The rock smiled benevolently upon [the] leaf. He liked the way she lay against him. The edge of her stem tickled him. The tips of her touched him in a way he’d never been touched before. It was strange but nice, sort of like the wings of a butterfly. She fell asleep.
The next day she awoke in the bright sunshine. The rock said, “Hello, good morning.” She said, “Hello, sleep well.” “I don’t sleep,” said the rock, “I have to stand fast or else all creatures under my care are cast away.” “Oh really?” she asked. “I never really worry about that, I just find another rock when I need to, or a log, or the side of a branch. It’s really no trouble and quite simple.
They talked many hours. He told her about the bugs and the people. She told [him] about the many sights she had seen; the mosque on the hill, the beautiful cherries, cemeteries, [and] people’s homes. She talked of many things. He talked about the many storms he’d weathered. [About how he had] almost been dislodged once and he’d hung on saving the delicate green mosses [and] the minnows their home.
So they lived for a while. Her colors fascinated him; she had reds, greens, yellows all over and a streak of dark red that made him [think] of winter frost.
One night there was a storm and she wasn’t near him. He couldn’t see in the dark. He couldn’t feel her touch either. He was afraid she’d gone, but she hadn’t. In the morning he found her drifting near where the current was strong. “Don’t leave,” he called. She spun his way, all crinkly, and said, “Oh, but I must. I don’t want to stay here. You are very beautiful but there are other sights to see and things to do.” “There are sights here, too” he said. “It’s too quiet here,” she said laughing gaily. “The quiet is where the deepest wonder is,” he said miserably.
She floated off. He watched her drift off. “I don’t care if you leave,” he muttered, “…I don’t…” She didn’t hear.
He didn’t miss her until the next night, when the tendril of touch that she used to hold on with was gone. Night followed day and then night. “Leaf-la,” he thought, “where have you gone?” As the water moved around him it began to eat away under his moorings. His grip became looser and still the water wore on. His brothers called to him in dismay, but he paid no heed. He kept looking downstream. “I wish I were a leaf,” he thought despairingly. “Leaf-la where are you?” he said.
The water wore on. Pieces of moss began to float away. The bugs began going someplace else to eat and raise their young. The minnows left. People stopped coming to sit and watch the rock and his minions. The water had a plain raucous sound. “Rock what’s going on?” asked his brother rocks. He would not reply.
That night a roaring rushing came down the creek. Rock didn’t care. “Leaf-la,” he thought [as] the water lifted him, “Leaf-la, I’m coming.” Down the creek he went with other nomadic rocks. Stumbling and splashing he jerked along. “Leaf-la I’m coming.”
He used all his knowledge of water to move along. He stayed where the current was strong. [He] avoided big stopper rocks. Still even after all the rocks he’d known had stopped, he kept on bumping and stumbling ever onward, looking for Leaf-la.
By Bruce McJilton