That little stone reminds you that even if all you did today was breathe and survive, that is enough.
Steady earthen swirls of amber you find everywhere in the rocks, in clouds lifting and spiraling to celestial plains. In the design of your thumbprint. In the design of your thumbprint used to finger paint. In the design of your thumbprint used to finger paint the way your therapist showed you. In the design... In the...
You hold the geode disc in your palm. It's been sanded and coated on its two identical sides, only the outer edge of the rock still rough. Trace the circles, the perfect pattern lines, the simplicity of geology. One day it will break with the force you apply to rub the resin under your thumb. The sensation seeps out the worry from your skin, but it can't handle all of you.
Summer vacation with your uncle before he died, the two of you hiked high trails in Wyoming, saw swirls of purest blue in thermal pools. Arctic iceberg at the perimeter, encasing lapis between steel and cobalt, all hazy at the surface among the steam, yet pure and deep underneath. Circles of clarity. Beneath the gray rock around it and its rivulets devoid of vegetation and life, other life lived in a compressed world of heat and pressure. Swirls in the pool like microbes under a microscope. Proof of life. Perseverance.
He brought the geode to you while you were in the hospital, so soon before he himself would be admitted and never leave. You could have had a room together, you later think. You were alone, your father down the hall in search of coffee. You would remember the steam from his styrofoam cup swirling like the pools. But right then it was just your uncle sitting on the edge of the bed.
"I want you to have this," he said in the shadows of the room, the beeping of machines and squeaks of nurses' shoes on polished linoleum. Opened your fingers and placed it in your palm. You examined the swirls of mocha, burgundy, mahogany, steady and perfect and simple. Tipped with cerulean.
"I'm sorry we didn't see it getting so hard for you. You mustn't listen to those thoughts. There's always another way. Not this." He taps the geode in my hand. "This is something I used whenever it got bad for me. Whenever you have these feelings again, I want you to focus on the colors. Remember."
You smell the sulfur of the water, feel the steam open the pores on your face despite the thin air around you. You hear the bubbling and the crunch of dry grass and packed dirt under your hiking boots. You see the clouds swirling to their celestial plains. You see the design of your thumbprint used to finger paint the way your therapist showed you.
Happiness exists for other people, but not you. Your uncle knew this and now even when he is gone, the geode remains. The cold resin warms in your hand constantly. When you rub it under your thumb, the glossy surface quickly sticks under the heat of friction. Even in your pocket, its colors are clear to you. You see the swirls and focus on that simplicity. That constancy.
And that little stone reminds you that even if all you did today was breathe and survive, that is enough.