While roaming the roads of life, the man of middle-age reached a
stubborn standstill when he encountered a rapid stream. Not able to
amble forward and no other way around, he was unsure of what to do —
for he carried with him upon his back a sack laden with the myriad
stones and rock that he had throughout his journey amassed.
From a very early age and ever on, wherever he went and
whatever he did, the man added ever more to his pack —
some as wee as bits of sand, others as large as the whole of a man.
In time, his bag of fleck and flint filled fuller than full and
was as heavy as the house he had left so long ago.
To the folks that he’d meet in the towns on the streets where he proudly
passed, he became known as The Stone Bearer. For so long had it been that
he was christened as such, that he, too, came to know himself solely in this sense.
And over the scores of years since he pecked his first pebble, the title and
the role with which it entailed would come to define his very existence.
And so it was here, at this time and this place that he was unwittingly impelled
to contemplate his fate. How could he cross the impeding stream and be on his way, while lugging his stony load? The Stone Bearer considered this way and that, backward and front, yet forever concluded the same — He had no choice but to maintain his
course in the only manner mattering to him, with his burden upon his back.
Haltingly he lurched into the formidable flow, each footstep falling further
than the first. He sank in past his knees and hips, chest and chin, submerging
beyond his crown, his bale ever more anchoring him down. Holding fast to the
sack surely would he drown, so in an act of desperate dissolution, he released
his grip and off it slid, the rocks slipping onto stream bed aground.
One by one, the tumbling stones left him ever more light until he at last floated freely to the surface. Making his way to the other side, he stood easily upright, the first he had done so in years. Weightless, he felt, transparent even. He turned and peered to where his stockpile had spilled — strewn about in the current were all the rocks and stones that had once determined his past, and had compelled his foreseen future.
It was perfectly clear for him to see, that what had initially provided him purpose had eventually oppressed his progress. He realized that no longer could he carry the burden of expectation, to adhere to the limits of prescribed self-imposed concept. Indeed, he had no need to be the stone bearer any more. “It is time to leave them behind,” he allowed to himself aloud, to the only one that could truly let it be so.
From that moment forth, he would just go, and be, and do — not disappointed by what he had lost (for he would collect no more rocks!) but stronger and wiser for the lesson he learned. In shouldering the weight of those rocks, he now had the fortitude for the travels ahead. And as for the rocks and stones themselves, they would remain forever where they toppled, a testament to the beauty of learning to live, and living to learn.
By Jason Weaver, 2017