Funny how a place can take you back to a memory so suddenly and clearly that you feel it in your heart. Today I rode my bike around to the far side of the local lake, to a peninsula where I hadn’t been for a long time.
Instantly I was transported in time to the day I spent here with my teenage son. Here’s what I noted about that day, years ago:
Today I took a lesson in how to skip stones. I failed the lesson, though my teacher didn’t seem to mind. I did succeed in something far more important, though—learning more about my son. I learned that his record is seven skips on the lake, and that he is a young man with depths as deep as the deepest, bluest water.
My 13-year-old and I rode our bikes to the lake today. Our world was clean after last evening’s rain. The sun warmed us and splintered on the water’s surface into thousands of sparkles.
Matthew led us on the dirt path that winds through the eucalyptus trees. He raced ahead, then parked his bike on a rock fill that serves as a rough pier. When I caught up, he was skipping stones on the gently waving blue surface.
“My record is seven skips,” he told me, concentrating on the ancient art he had picked up somewhere. Somehow I had missed this part of his life, so I listened and watched carefully. Ping, ping, ping, ping, ping. Just watching his joy made me smile.
“You try, Mom.”
He showed me the flick of the wrist, the technique that could produce skip after skip.
On my first try I missed the lake. I never did improve much.
“I think I’ll just collect shells and watch you,” I told him.
So he skipped stone after stone and talked of the different shapes of rocks, what size is ideal, and the colors. We admired a chunk of quartz embedded in the dirt, too large for skipping, but we spent a few silent moments appreciating this rosy treasure. Then Matthew turned back to skipping.
“Are you bored, Mom?” Concern lined his young face.
Bored? No way! No, Matthew, I’m treasuring every moment this sunny day, collecting memories that will skip across my mind in the years to come, when you are grown, when the years have skimmed across time far too fast. I’ll remember this clear, sunshine day and skipping stones with my son and I’ll smile.
* * *
The trees on the lake have grown larger now, and Matt has grown tall and has sons of his own.
He’ll teach them to skip stones, I’m sure.