January 13th, 2006

ozarque figure

Reality and perceptions; something I would have sworn was impossible....

I had said, "I have perceived so many things in my lifetime that I would have sworn -- before perceiving them -- could not possibly be 'real' that I've learned not to be dogmatic about what does and doesn't possess that characteristic." And nancylebov commented: "I'm curious about the things you've experienced which you would have sworn were impossible."

The one that's easiest to write about (and that some of you may remember reading about before, in a much earlier post) is the time a stone spoke to me. "Stones/rocks can talk" isn't one of the reality statements in my set; I would have sworn that that was impossible. Nevertheless....

My husband and I were on the road, doing seminars, somewhere out in the southwest. We'd stopped on an isolated road out in a stretch of desert wilderness -- mountain ranges in the distance -- and had gotten out of the car to look at the view, which was pretty spectacular. We were standing there at the edge of the highway looking and marveling and talking about how beautiful it was, when I (not George, only me) heard a small voice say very clearly and precisely and urgently: "Pick me up!"

I thought that a child had somehow wandered into the scene, because it sounded like a child's voice, and I'm used to children wandering into my scenes, and I looked down, expecting to see a child. But there was no child there. There was just a rock ... a stone .... about the size and shape of a man's two clasped hands, right at my feet. And no living thing except my husband anywhere to be seen, in any direction.

I picked up that stone and took it home with me, and I have it still. It's not your ordinary rock. It's a sort of creamy-brown color, and marked on it in a darker brown is what looks like the stick figure of a dancer. It's incredibly heavy for its size and it's always icy cold, no matter what the temperature in the room. I have no idea what sort of stone it is, and it's never made another sound, so far as I know. But that's not the point, of course -- I would still have pitched this experience into the "things I would have sworn were impossible" pile even if what I'd seen when I looked down had been an ordinary brick, or a concrete block. The fact that it turned out to be an unusual stone makes a better story, but it's irrelevant to the point.

You can consider the various possible explanations for the "Pick me up!" that I heard. Hallucination? Dementia? Wild imagination? The problem is that there was no context for any of those things. George and I hadn't been discussing science fiction or fantasy or talking rocks, we'd been admiring the scenery. I hadn't been drinking or taking drugs; I didn't have a fever or any other illness.

It's true that I once wrote a poem about a woman that stones and rocks talked to ("Rocky Road to Hoe"), and it's true that I once wrote an sf short story about talking stones and rocks ("Soulfedge Rock"), but I wrote those two items later, as a result of having picked up that stone.

So. Just one example.