He was a stone cold killer. Well, he was a stone. A two pound piece of Dolomite. Only moments earlier he had been part of an overhang on a dirt bluff. The weather had changed abruptly, turning cold and threatening rain. A little squirrel had scampered in for shelter. A rivulet of rain water along a fissure had opened a crack, which released him from his bondage. Neither of them had seen it coming.
There was nothing for him to do but lie there, slowly sucking the heat from the squirrel’s body. It is a vicious coincidence, he thought. And frustrating. How he wanted to move. How he wanted to give the squirrel back her life. But, being a rock, one learns a great many things, having so much time for contemplation.
Time moves slowly, but Life moves fast. One cannot wait for the other. He would have thirty years to rest upon this squirrel. The blink of an eye in geological time. The little body would stay fairly well preserved for a while. Not that this would do the squirrel much good. Her last thoughts were just about used up. But more on that in a moment.
That the Dolomite think about Fate, and Faith, and this fleeting Life that always scurries about, so much the opposite of eternity. Yet Life believes in its own endurance.
The Dolomite sit for a thousand years without a consideration for itself. Instead, he revels in the constant and wondrous change occurring around him at such a fevered pitch. Where do they think they are going? Is it so vital a journey that it often ends in the same dust in which it originates?
The Dolomite not understand it, but he was jealous none the less. He had hung in the bluff for a long time. A LONG time. Trees, fields of flowers, deer, mice, children, had all come and gone. They moved freely and quickly. And vainly, he hoped. Yes, he was jealous.
In thirty years a hard rain would undercut him, having previously removed the squirrel and much of the dirt and pebble. He would eventually feel himself loose in the stream, yet at a glacial procession. How he longed for a more rapid change. To follow a rabbit across the meadow. To chase a leaf in the breeze. How he wished these things belonged to him. But they did not. So his days were filled with the rapid movement of his mind, fast out-pacing his sedentary station. On fly the wren, on crawl the slugs, away blew the fur and flesh of what once was a squirrel.
What of the squirrel, you ask? Well, let’s tread carefully. These thoughts we seek will run quick, even as the squirrel is freshly pinned to the earth. At first there is confusion and hurt, as there always is in death. But the squirrel had an interesting tug of war with Death. The startling realization of her predicament caused a brief panic. I will not see my friends again. My children will worry. I have only the faintest taste of the perfect acorn on my tongue. It is fading fast. And I will never have it again. It is a shame.
But then the squirrel slipped towards a dream. She moved slowly into a relaxed state. The breath she thought she needed did not convulse her chest in agony, desperately trying to inflate her lungs. Instead, the rock sat upon her, quite animately relieving her of those concerns. Her ribs and diaphragm did not move. The effort had been removed from them. Mechanisms in her body deadened the pain, or blocked it altogether. She entered a fuzzy sleepy state where worry departed.
She moved on. This time with a slow geological mind. She saw with different eyes the uselessness of her body. She saw how time kept moving even though she could not. She sensed the movement around her. The slow settling of the rock as her body decayed. The bugs and animals and bacteria that enjoyed her last gift. Some of them had been with her all along. Now was simply their opportunity.
Her memories became less personal, yet somehow survived chemically at a small level, stored in their essence, but not in the recognizable form of a personality. She saw the smallness of who she had been, and yet felt less alone. What if all the rocks and dirt and sand, and loam and plants and carrion were filled with similar memories? What if these memories mixed and filled the flowers and the grass and the acorns. Oh, what if…
The taste came back to her now. That perfect acorn! It tasted fresh and powerful and full of so much potential for life. She was so happy now. Not to be dead, but to see what life really was. Its cycles and its secrets. It was, after all, not a god that makes us eternal. It is the most basic indestructible part of ourselves that makes us part of something so big that it seems like God. As if it were the sum of all of us. All of us who are, who were, and who will be. We are born into our bodies and feel like individuals. Our thousands of little memories scream in tiny voices that we are just part of something so much bigger. Sometimes we busy our lives scurrying about and don’t pay attention. We don’t listen to our own voices because we are busy experiencing the World.
We remember a beautiful day in Autumn. We had buried the last acorn. Okay, not buried it. Eaten it, because it was so delicious. It was the perfect acorn. It wanted to be eaten. It was calling to be eaten. The rain had started falling and we were happy that all the other acorns would probably grow. They now had a better chance of becoming giant Oak trees. Homes to birds and ants and squirrels and Spanish moss. And this one squirrel was tired and happy and sure that she had done her part to bring this all about. She huddled out of the rain under a beautiful outcropping of red spotted Dolomite, uncovered only recently from the rich red soil by an Autumn rain. The sun was still warm as the day was dying. It blazed a fiery yellow one last time, then winked behind the clouds.
And night fell.