I’ll tell you the January 7 prompt from Charli at Carrot Ranch, but as always it’s a real fine post that goes with it, worth clicking on over there. Okay, the prompt is, “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the contrasting prompts butterfly and stones. The two can be used in any way in your story. Go where the prompt leads!” Though butterflies are the more obvious symbol of reflective change, both butterflies and stones go through transformations. In my first response I revisited the Dillard essay entitled “Teaching a Stone To Talk”. In my second, I took advantage of the setting offered by this prompt and used it to visit with Marge and Ernest. You may recall that the gang built a Zen garden and a pagoda style she-shed for this couple to encourage their nuptials. (If you go to their page to catch up, you might want to scroll all the way down to “Archway”.) Either way, there’s more to this scene.
In “Teaching A Stone To Talk” Annie Dillard states that we’ve desecrated the groves and sacred places, “have moved from pantheism to pan-atheism”, and so “Nature’s silence is its one remark”; “The silence is all there is” and this silence is our own doing.
I wonder; who are we then, to presume to teach a stone to talk? We need to learn to listen!
It isn’t easy work; it requires great attention and practice. But the stone has much to say about patience, endurance, and transformation.
Look. A butterfly lands whisper-winged on a lichen-cloaked stone. Watch and learn. Listen.
“I’m glad it’s Nard in there, Ilene.”
“I’m glad you’re here with me. See Marge’s plants with all those butterflies on them? That’s my stomach.”
“Oh, Ernest. It’s all good. She’ll be out soon.”
From the stoop of the singlewide, Ernest looked across the river of stones of the Zen garden to the closed pocket door of the she-shed, while Ilene studied the butterflies adorning the buddleia and echinacea.
“Blue! Limenitis…? Ernest, have you ever seen anything so beautiful?”
Ernest was looking at Marge, finally emerging from the pagoda styled shed in a blue dress.
“No, not ever.”