A Study of the Migratory Patterns of Rocks

 Rocks tend not to move by themselves, at least not when anyone’s looking. Steady as a rock, so they say. So we’ve been told. 

Bedrock. Cornerstone. Foundation. Immobile. 

Because we all know this, because we all agree on this, I can’t begin to imagine the widespread confusion I know must be overtaking our neighborhood at present.

The rocks are moving! 

At least, the rocks have moved over the course of the last few days. The dull grey one laced with white speckles, surely the neighborhood favorite, you know which one I mean, disappeared two mornings ago from its habitual shady spot under the tallest tree on the block and reappeared, just as suddenly as it had vanished, atop that crumbly rock fence across the way, seemingly unharmed. The small pink one from the corner pile by the yellow lilies, on the other hand, has vanished entirely, leaving behind not even so much as a pebble to testify to its existence.

It’s been three painful, painful days. Unsettling. Disturbing, even.

The cause of this perturbation of the peace is a recent arrival to the neighborhood. Lucas, who shall remain nameless, has replaced his compulsion to stomp on every single grate and manhole cover he sees with the just-as-strong need to stop at every pile of rocks he finds during the course of our walks. Assuming squat position in his effortlessly enviable toddler way (my joints creak at the mere thought of it), he carefully selects what appears to the casual eye to be an ordinary, nondescript rock and yet, given the deliberate movement with which he brings the chosen rock to his nose, the intense focus with which he sniffs it, I must conclude these to be truly special rocks. These truly special rocks he will clasp in his fists, perhaps banging them together if there are multiple truly special rocks at hand. After this ceremony, we walk a few feet, and then, if we’re especially lucky, we repeat the process.

I should at this point in the narrative confess that I have become an accomplice to the ongoing neighborhood rock migration. When possible, I return the chosen truly special rocks to their proper beds, assuring their family and friend rocks that all is well and apologizing for the disturbance. Many’s the time though when I have ended up with a rock or three in my pocket over the course of a walk, scooping them up once Lucas discards them in the middle of the sidewalk and lacking a proper place to return them to. These generally collect on the countertop until I remember to take them out and set them free. Others I gather once we’ve returned home and Lucas is once again (and again and again) distracted by throwing the metal dog bowl, its collision with the ground creating an unholy noise uncomfortably reminiscent of a Chinese opera gong. These truly special rocks I likewise eventually transport outside, dropping them unceremoniously on the first pile I find, all memory of where they came from gone in the excitement.