Exact Rock Bubbles.
By ice rivers
Every time I make the effort to look at the past, positive experiences look the same only better.
One hot July afternoon in my boyhood, my father and I were splashing around and cooling off in the shallow waters of Crystal Beach, Canandaigua Lake. Crystal Beach is very rocky bottomed in the shallows.My father picked a rock from the bottom, examined it closely and showed it to me and said "take a close look". After I looked at the rock closely or at least what I considered closely at the time,he took the rock from my grasp and threw it in the water, maybe ten feet away.
"Bring that rock back to me, Son."
I walked 10 feet to the approximate spot where I thought the rock had entered the water. When I looked into the crystal clear water, I saw what sorta looked like the rock, The only problem was that the rock next to the rock looked like the original rock as did the rock next to that rock as did the one next to that one as did all the rocks in the area as in fact, I realized, did all the rocks in the lake. I became aware that the lake was full of thousands if not millions of rocks. I chose one and brought it back to my father.
"Is this the rock that I threw?", he asked.
"Yes" I answered.
"How do you know for sure."
"It looks like the one you threw, doesn't it?" I answered his question with a hopeful question of my own.
"Did you notice that they all look like the one I threw?'
"Only one rock in this entire lake looks EXACTLY like the rock I threw, precisely like itself in every way. The rock that you brought back, is not the one that I threw."
I could have been discouraged, could have pouted, could have left the water but knowing what a good teacher my Dad was, I realized I was about to learn something so I was curious rather than afraid. I asked the question that he clearly wanted me to answer, a question that would change my life.
"How do I find the exact rock?"
"The exact rock is the one with bubbles coming from it. Look for the bubbles and you'll find the exact rock."
I picked another rock from the bottom. I examined it more closely and noticed a couple of unique features.I gave it to my father to scrutinize. Before throwing the rock, he gave me another bit of advice. "Don't walk to the rock. Don't run to the rock. Running riles up the water and makes the bubbles harder to see. Swim to the rock like a fish, underwater with no splashing and eyes wide open. Shallow dive for the rock as soon as I throw it. The faster, the clamer you get to the rock, the more bubbles you will see."
He threw the rock into the water again about ten feet away. I hit the water as soon as the rock did. The moment that I opened my eyes under the surface, I could see the bubbles.I swam to the bubbles rather than to the rock. The exact rock was right where it was supposed to be, under the bubbles.
My father was telling the truth. I grabbed the exact rock and brought it back to him.
He kept throwing that rock, I kept finding it. The throws kept going further and further. The further the throw, the fainter the bubble trail by the time I got to the rock. When I focused on the bubbles, I didn't have time to complain about the distance. When focused on the bubbles, I didn't have time to worry about the depth even though I was now in over my head. The depth made the bubbles fainter, yes, but the bubble trail grew longer and even more beautiful in its fragility.
Eventually, I reached my childish limit for distance and depth and breathless time under water.I lost the exact rock.
I came back to Dad empty handed. I had transformed that rock into a kind of treasure and now it was gone forever.
My father could read the loss and disappointment in my eyes.
"Don't worry Ice, there's a million rocks in this lake and most of them haven't moved for decades. By moving your rock so many times, you changed the lake a little and for the better. Let it go. It's safe and it's where it belongs. Let it go and let's get something to eat."
We climbed out of the water. We walked up the steps to the road leading to our cottage. When I got to the top step, before I hit the road, I looked down at the water.
Another treasure had been added.
An every day rock had been paid attention to, thus enriched.
My Dad had taught me a lesson.
The lake looked the same only better.
And that as they say, was just the top of it.