Monday, December 26, 2022

A Restful Moment

A Restful Moment...

Because We All Need One About Now

The hubbub of the holiday season will soon be over. We breathe a bit easier now that the big family meal is over, the gifts have been opened, and the wrapping paper is bagged and put out to the curbside. 

A few weeks ago, a fellow writer sent me a gentle story of a trip to the shores of Lake Michigan. A warmer season. A restful moment when the real treasures are found in spending time with someone you love and taking time to discover something new and wonderful in the blue waters of the lake. 

I invited Bill to share this bit of writing with my readers today as a gift...a sweet reminder of sunshine and water and the amazing creation God has given us. Enjoy!

 Petoskey Stones

by William Morrow

A lazy red sun greets Jane and I as it rises over the hilly countryside surrounding our motel breakfast table – certainly a good start to a morning looking for Petoskey stones.  After breakfast it is only a short drive to the rocky beach on Lake Michigan.

Why would anyone want to look for Petoskey stones? Its lure runs through beachcombers, tourists, and locals, all coming for the mysterious stones located mainly in the Petoskey area on Lake Michigan.  They even have “State Rock of Michigan” status.  Come with me to the shore.

The eye is quickly drawn to the aqua-green shallow water, the lapping waves constantly breaking.  Ten feet or so from shore a lone sea gull perched on a jutting boulder preens herself.  Done, she skims over the deeper blue waters, changes course, and heads toward the far western shore where white cottages and houses nestle themselves into the hillsides. Beneath are portions of a quaint city – storefronts, a church, a taller building.

Meanwhile, we notice a short couple approaching from the parking lot.  The wife’s face is thin making a nice fit for her light metal glasses.  Her quick smile and slightly pitched voice reflect warmth and friendliness.  The husband, stockily built, is wearing waders and clutching a blue plastic cup in one hand.  He wastes no time getting into the water; however, his wife lingers to talk, giving us tips on finding Petoskey stones, volunteering that her husband makes jewelry from the treasured stones, and promising to give us the first one she finds on this day.  

So, we set out on our own to look for the precious stones that have a hexagonal pattern with eyes and a dark center radiating out to a white outline.  Perhaps the best tip that the wife has given us is that the stones show up most clearly when they are wet.

When a novice like me starts looking, it’s hard not to get sidetracked among the myriads of rocks on this beach in all shapes, sizes, and colors.  The crashing waves only accentuate their beauty.  Some of the yellows look like a smooth biscuit, the black one’s glisten, and the white one’s are washed clean.

Further down shore the husband is hard at work. His approach reminds me of ducks looking for food.  Once they hone in on a prey their bills go under water and their fannies bottom up.  The husband’s approach doesn’t exactly measure up to the duck’s but there are similarities. He is almost knee deep in his waders, and he, being short, doesn’t have to bend far to get a good look at the lake’s bottom, and like the duck, he keeps on looking, lifting those heavy waders up and down again and again.

Fifteen minutes hasn’t passed before the wife happily returns with a Petoskey stone for us that isn’t much bigger than a chocolate kiss.  In fact, it is even shaped like a chocolate kiss, but true to the lore of Petoskey stones, many look like ordinary stones.  This one is a perfect example, gray with tiny white specks and one side darkened.

Like the husband, I waste no time in getting to the water.  The moment I dip the stone and pull it into the sunlight, white veins radiate to form hexagonal patterns and black eyes stare back at me as if to say “I told you I was a Petoskey stone.”

Meet William Morrow:

In my freshman year of high school my English teacher told me that I should be a writer.  I dismissed that thought, especially when I went to college and got a bad grade in English composition. Next, my career in warehousing and transportation had nothing to do with words.  In mid life I felt God was speaking to me about words.  I again enrolled in college and after ten years of night classes I got a degree in English Language.  Then I tried teaching writing fundamentals at a junior college and discovered that teaching was not for me.  Lately I’ve only written small pieces like this one.  When I retire in two years, I hope to write a book."





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