Friday, February 15, 2013

Jacob stared at the rock. He tightened the muscles in his chest and arms, squeezed his legs and stomach, and concentrated. The rock was not large: about the size of his fist. It was squared with a mound forming off the side like a tumor. The rock was in a dirt patch in the yard surrounded by smaller pebbles. He allowed these stray thoughts to wash over him.

A strong wind blew that day. It was warm and the wild grass waved in the gusts. Jacob breathed deeply and maintained the rigidness in his body. He extended himself toward the rock. He tried to remember the experience without using words. He wanted to avoid the distraction of words as he realized that the warning itself had become a distraction. He blinked purposefully and when he opened his eyes he returned his concentration to the rock.

He could feel his brother’s eyes on him. His body started to shake as his muscles tired. He fought the fatigue for a few moments before flopping down onto the ground next to the rock. He gave the rock one more determined look before leaning back until his head rested on the ground on top of his clasped hands.

The rock had not moved.

The sky was a clear blue with only the faintest wisps of clouds. He thought he had figured it out. He had been sure that today was the day. The rock was going to move. There was a connection between him and the rock. He understood in ways he had not understood other rocks. He felt good about the quietness.

He heard the screen door open and slam shut.

“Did it work?” his brother asked.

Jacob shook his head.

“You lasted longer this time. That was almost eight full minutes.” He pointed to his digital watch.

His brother went over to the rock and walked around it. He inspected each side with his hands behind his back, leaning close but not touching it.

“You picked a good one this time,” his brother said. “It has real personality. I was sure it was going to move. I was really sure.”

Jacob continued watching the sky. He had failed but he was not disappointed. He examined those feelings. His body felt looser and more connected with the world around it. It was true that the rock had not moved. Not today and not in the hundreds of other days he had tried to move it with his mind. That was okay. He would stick with it and like all promises, it would happen one of these day.

“You’re not bummed, are you?” his brother asked.

Jacob looked over and shook his head again. He stood up and wiped the dirt from his clothing. “Nah,” Jacob said. “You have to keep at it. I told you that. The more you try the greater the chance.”

His brother smiled in agreement. “Are you going to try again today?”

Jacob turned to look at the rock. He studied it for a few minutes, not trying to move it, but trying to understand it. To see if he needed more time with the rock. He resisted the urge to pick it up as that defeated ruined the relationship with the rock. He knew if he moved it he would have to start over again. The rock did seem to have personality. His brother had been right. It seemed lighter because of it. But he knew it would not move today.

“We’ll try again tomorrow,” Jacob said.

His brother nodded and ran back into the house. Jacob watched him go then returned his gaze to the rock. He bowed his head to the rock and followed his brother into the house.