The Big Rock

…The big rock is hard to the touch, and it smells like wet no matter how many hours have passed since it last rained. The big rock is big enough for me as a small child to spread out completely, its coarse coolness a welcome respite from the summer heat. The big rock makes me feel safe. It’s far away enough from my childhood home that it feels like a different universe, one in which children are in charge. The big rock is close enough to my tiny shack that I can still see my family outside, so I feel safe. The pine needles cover the ground around and under the big rock, and they crunch under my tiny feet. Sometimes I bring chalk and draw on the big rock. I like the way the chalk vibrates in my hand against the rock’s surface as I draw all sorts of symbols that mean “This is mine. This is a safe space for children.” The rock is shaped like a boat, ferrying me to safety. The rock is cold and damp and I’m not old enough to bother worrying about the ten thousand snakes that probably live underneath. The bank that we climb to get to the big rock is steep, and our toes often slip out from under us as we try to get there. The big rock is quiet, not interrupting the chatty sounds of nature that fill the surrounding area. Birds chirp noisily and as it gets later in the day, we can hear the frogs and the hissing, swishing noises in the trees from a prolific bug that I forgot to ask my dad to name. Next to the big rock is a skinny, tall tree. As an adult, it seems to me the rock and the tree are friends, the rock and the tree so close together that they seem to be leaning against one another. I would sit on the rock and…

The Big Rock
The Big Rock – Like this, except way bigger and with a tree friend.

 

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