When I first walked down to the river that flowed by the Wild Goose Festival, it was clear that others got there before I did. There were small to medium size flat rocks stacked three, four or five high on larger flat rocks. Some were on the edge of the river, and some were right in the middle. These towers were probably created for a variety of reasons, someone’s contemplative practice or a way to say, “I was here,” and each was built to stand at least several days.
Everyday I ate breakfast by myself at the edge of that river. It was peaceful to watch the clouds move east, over and between the Appalachian mountains, and the water move north, over and between the gray river rocks. The first morning I noticed a particular rock that had been worn into a crescent shape on one side because of the flowing water. No person had cut the rock into that shape. The stone was simply in the stream, and the work of the water over the years had eroded it into the smooth curve that it was.
The rock towers were built to be noticed, even if just by the builder. The rock that was worn into the shape of a long, slender “C” wasn’t noticed by maybe anybody but me, and after one night of heavy rain, it wasn’t even visible above the surface of the river.
The rock shaped by the river taught me that there’s more to life than seeing what I can build and do and have other people notice; it taught me that it’s OK to be still and let life shape me.
How are the stories I give shape and tell analogous to the towers made out of rock? How are the stories told by other people or by nature impacting and shaping me?
What is shaping you?