A long time ago, my father and I were up on the North Coast Road in Trinidad and Tobago. We’d had a few drinks and were in that zone where we could go either way – either best friends, or worst enemies. He and I were fickle like that.
And we came across a stone protruding into the road. A hazard of sorts. It was daylight, and I thought that it was a black-silver shale, probably high in illite. On further inspection, it could be slate. There was nothing particularly appealing about the rock, but it was silver-ish, it was hard and didn’t flake. All of this probably would have bored my father to death; he hated that the books I read were what everyone else considers textbooks, and he was a big fan of novels. I love science because it requires depth and breadth of knowledge to decipher more and more.
It looked heavy. It was about a foot and a half in diameter, and oddly shaped.
I made up my mind. I would find a use for it. No one else wanted it. It was clear it had fallen from the Northern Range during a mudslide, and that it was a hazard on the road to everyone.
“I want to take this rock home.”
My father laughed at me, then saw that I was serious.
He knew me for picking up a stone, however small, at places I visited and depositing them in the yard at the house, a house everyone claimed but I had grown up in. He never understood why I simply enjoyed looking at things that had been formed under pressure, with whatever was at hand, to create these structures. I saw something else.
“Fine”, he said a bit smugly. “If you can get it in the tray of the pickup by yourself, we’ll take it home.”
And so I did. Into the back of the L200. I figure it weighed about 170 lbs, but I never weighed it.
He shook his head. We drove home, and I picked it up and walked it to the other garage. He shook his head. I adjusted it in one of the front gardens, nodded at it and went off.
When you want something, no matter how fickle, you get it.
Later, after he died, I stuck it under the tree. I used other rocks I had picked up, and I made a nice little waterfall that I could watch when it rained (it’s the 2nd from top in the picture). The tree was much younger then, only a sapling. Now I can’t get my arms around it.
Today I moved the rock again – driving it from that last house where I had grown up to the pond dug recently, to sit on in the shade. It’s finally on land I own.
In time, it will find itself under another tree.