It is five in the morning. I stand on a beach and gather light in my yes and my mind. It is not a normal beach but rather one with a bed of small round stones. They have no color yet, but promise to gather some as the sun rises.

There is a hint of pink on the horizon but no real light. The stars remain visible above the sea. Among them is the phenomenon of the Milky Way. It rises from the sea; upward and to the right, continuing towards the heavens until it disappears. There is not a clear demarcation of its trajectory. The lower parts of the Milky Way appear as stars – – although a bit muted. As my eyes follow its path the stars join together and lose their granularity; they become a giant cloud. This cloud has upper and lower limits which define it

There is a cliff to my left. It also, like the beach stones, has little color. A minute passes and some light tends to make the cliff a brownish hue. Yes, I can now clearly see its outline. It is not a normal flat cliff but rather one whose geological lineage have given it character. There are fault lines rising from left to right; almost following the path of the Milky Way. The fault lines are irregular, no two separated by the same distance although following the same path. There are a few outcroppings that cantilever out into the night sky.

Out, sitting in the ocean, with its toes on the beach and its heals buried in the water, is a tall rock island. Its birth mother appears to be the cliff. They have the same fault lines and color. Mother and child are separated by eroded rocks that appear to remain behind as the result of the natal event.

There are beach stones that lay beneath my feet, and extend to the area between the cliff and the island. These stones seem to also have been left behind as a result of the birth of the island. However, these have been smoothed by Father Ocean who has given them a personality due to a continuum of waves of advice.

In the distance and to my right a small island appears in the muted sun. The pink on the horizon has turned to white and a thin layer of blue exists between this and the dark sky. The stars within this blue band have disappeared; yet my heart can still feel the Milky Way and my mind contemplates it.

The sea becomes silver as the sun rises farther. The islands and cliff in front of me remain dark and foreboding. I wait for the remainder of the musical and am not disappointed. The small rounded stones appear to gain in color and harmony. I wonder and this wonderment leads me to the memory of a visit I once paid to a mountain stream.

I had a lot of leisure time then. My weekly income from industry gave me time to do the things I always wanted to. One of my desires was to own my own automobile so that I could visit the countryside.

And I did.

I drove for miles and enjoyed every month of it. Some of the roads were unique. One was along an old canal bed. Another went up and down like a roller-coaster (but, of course, not as steep). My favorite mountain road was helical shaped that went around and around as well as up. I enjoyed the feeling of “Déjà Vu” each time I made a left hand turn (which was continuously).

But none of my trips would be as memorable as the one I was on at that moment. It was a two lane macadam road that followed a beautiful mountain stream. I saw an interesting dirt road to my right. A rickety bridge allowed me to cross the stream. The steep mountains closed in on each side as I followed my hood ornament.

Suddenly the mountains parted and I found myself at the edge of a large flat area. It must have been five hundred acres in size and as flat as a postage stamp. The whole plain was covered in grass. It was not normal grass; it was blue. Not the blue of oceans, nor turquoise blue, or the blue color of melancholy. It was not the blue of azure, nor sapphire, nor peacock blue nor the blue of despair. It was the blue of amethyst.

It had the same quality of an amethyst gem; translucent. I departed my car and studied the grass. When I stood up it looked like a dark hue of blue. When I lay down and looked across the top of the grass it looked like the amethyst of an apothecary jar. In either case it was a mesmerizing experience.

I removed my shoes and socks to enjoy the softness of this blue grass. I walked around the amethyst plain for quite some time before I noticed a stream along one side. I ventured down the bank and into the water. The stones on the bottom were all the same size; about the size of an egg. Yet they were rather flat and pleasant to walk on. The stones appeared to have spent quite a bit of time in a giant lapidary tumbler; they were polished.

I reached down and picked one up. It was onyx black with ivory colored large spots here and there. The spots were not clearly demarcated as on a polka-dot dress. They were more like the penumbraic spots on a brook trout.

“PUT ME DOWN” cried a voice from seemingly nowhere.
I looked around but there was no one there.
“Put me down before I die” cried out the voice again.
I scanned the blue grass but saw no one.
“Please, I beg you, put me back in the water or I will expire” came the voice for the third time.

I perceived that the voice might be coming from the stone. I carefully lowered my hand until the stone was under water. Nothing happened. No voice, no movement, no sign of life. After a minute or so I decided that I must have had a day dream in this strange place of amethyst grass and shiny stones with soft ivory spots. I lifted my hand out of the water so that I could once more inspect this strange stone.

“Thanks for putting me back under water” said the stone.
Without thinking I responded “Why sure! Sorry about not listening the first time.”
“Put me back in so I can take a breath” pleaded the stone.
I did as I was asked and then lifted the stone up again. “Are you a real stone or a turtle or a fish?” I asked.
“A stone” said the stone. “Now put me back.”

And so it went for the remainder of the next hour. I dipped the stone in and out of the water while trying to complete a conversation with it.

Finally the stone told me “Walk downstream and you will find a waterfall.”
I followed the stone’s instructions while holding him under water. When I reached the waterfall I lifted the stone up again to ask for farther instructions. The stone said “Hold me under the waterfall. That way I can get enough water to breath and enough air to talk.”
I followed instructions and soon realized why I had heard gurgling sounds at all the waterfalls I had ever visited. It was the sound of stones talking to each other. I wished that I had paid more attention to stones long before this.

“I can now complete what I wished I could have told someone years ago” said the stone. “It is a long story so feel free to ask questions; if you must.
The stone continued “This is the story of a blue grass festival and us who were once called caterwaulers.

“Eons ago in this flat amethyst plain,
Music existed whether in sun or rain,
It echoed on the mountains ag’ane and ag’ane,
While the red summer hawk was carnivorously preyin’.

People came from a’near and afar,
Some by bus, but mostly by car,
Two people brought elixir in a stone jar,
A wanna-be king and a Tennesee tzar.

So the blue-grass music played day and night,
While the clouds rolled by, dark or bright,
Eventually the moon played fiddle (out of sight),
And the night owl prowled in quiet stealthy flight.

The stream rolled by, oblivious of the noise,
Created by those grown-up country girls and boys,
With their banjos, harmonicas, and musical toys,
The audience had elixir and hookahs (their make believe joys).

Summer hawk and night owl with eyes e’spyin’,
Swooping talons exposed, in unison flyin’,
Picked up the singers and musicians (all cryin’),
Each and every one thought they were dyin’,

The winged ones deposited them in mountain stream,
And the caterwauling ebbed to a gurgling scream,
I was involved in that nightmarish dream,
For I was a caterwauler, or so it would seem.

Over the eons minerals invaded our bones,
And turned us into penumbrious stones,
Our caterwaulings are now gurgling moans,
The screeching songs melted into melodious tones.”

The stone then became quiet except for intermittent sobbing. Although I had previously intended to ask questions I avoided hearing any more of the sad story. I carefully placed the stone on the bottom of the stream and fled.

I never heard the voice of the caterwauler again.

©  2017        Copyright Waldo J. Tomosky

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