White Stone Days

January 2, 2008
By Alissa Laliberte, Ivoryton, CT

Skipping up the wooded hill, I watch as loose sticks and dirt crumble beneath my feet and slide down the steep slope. I laugh as this makes dirt spew into the face of Darwin, a spastic puppy that barks at the dust that is now clouding the air. He bounds ahead of me leaping up and down like a cricket. Chasing after the tiny puppy I match his energy with giggles. Stumbling over twigs, I reach the top of the hill. I turn around to see my grandmother panting on her way up. “Oh Jeez, Lissy.” She mutters in her high pitched voice, “I’m getting too old for this.” I laugh at my grandmother, waiting for her to catch up.

The two of us were known to have this kind of bond. The relationship that we held was very similar to that of best friends. We were constantly joking around with one another, and because she would take care of me after pre-school I was with her practically every day of my life making me more comfortable with her than any other person in the world. She knew me better than I knew myself. I remember the days that I would beg her to play a game called “shopping” with me, and she would beg me to take a nap. I would watch her as she dozed off for a second and then jump on her, forcing her to get up and play with me. Getting mad, she would try to fall back asleep, but the situation always ended with sheer laughter.

We always had these routine games and adventures that we would partake in together, that day on the hill was part of one in which we would walk through the trails cut into the back of my grandmother’s yard.

As my grandmother reached the peak of the hill, she gave me a big hug. I embraced her in giggles chiming, “Grammie, you’re too slow for me.” She laughed and we entered the trail that was cut into the lush wooded area. As we strolled around the twists and turns, following behind Darwin, we sang songs. My favorite was, “This is the song that never ends.” While most people would get sick of singing the song after the tenth verse, my grandmother and I would almost reach the triple digits before running out of breath or finding some sort of distraction. Along the way, we kept a steady pace, our eyes fixated on the ground beneath our toes. Someone viewing us might wonder why we were so focused on the dirt, but we were on a mission. We were searching for smooth, white rocks that we so often found hidden in the soil. At some point before the time I could remember, we had begun to collect these stones.

Spotting a glimpse of white in the corner of my eye, I darted in its direction. Being the youngster that I was, I didn’t care about filth so I knelt down on the ground disregarding the muck that was beginning to cover my pants. I dug through the grime uncovering a beautifully smooth, white rock. Yanking it from the ground, I held it above my head to show my grandmother that I had found the first rock. She beamed at me with her loving eyes, and took my hand as we continued on our journey.

After some time, we were stumbling through the thicket with numerous stones in hand. I can still feel the smooth surface of them as they tumbled around in my hands. They felt like silk, and I loved to trail my petite fingers over them scraping off the thin layer of dirt that enveloped them. The clinks of the hard rocks smashing together still ring through my ears as I picture Grammie and me scuttling to our final destination. When we reached it, I was transformed into a world of tranquility. The end of our adventure was a large clearing in which there resided a large, wooden bench swing adorned with delicate flowers. The soothing sounds of birds chirping always echoed throughout the area, adding to the feeling of bliss I would experience being with my grandmother.

Racing over to the base of the swing, my grandmother and I spread the white stones across the ground. Slowly, we aligned them with the stones that were already situated, forming a circle around the bench swing. After working on this project, we would relax on the swing. My legs were too short to touch the ground, so my grandmother was in charge of rocking the seat. I would grip her hand, squeezing it in a signal to go higher, move faster. The exhilaration of the swing caused my heart to pound, and I was in a world of utter content.

My memories of those white stones are ones of pure nostalgia and cheerfulness. I think the joy those stones conjure up have more to do with the company I was with then the actual objects themselves. Those days with my grandmother were irreplaceable. I wish just once more I could scurry up the hill, ahead of her, waiting for her to catch up and give me that big hug.

In more recent years, I was spending time in my backyard one day, in what used to be a sandbox which became a makeshift vegetable garden. Beneath the dirt, something caught my eye. Kneeling down, I was so anxious that I forgot about the muck that was forming on my jeans. I went back to the days where dirt didn’t matter, and dug through the grime catching filth underneath my fingernails. Immediately, I felt the smoothness of the stone against my fingertip. I pulled the stone out from the earth, and my mind raced back to those times skipping through the trails without a care in the world on those white stone days.

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