I have a jar sitting on the shelf above my desk. It’s about 8-9 inches tall and unremarkable in every way. Inside it, climbing to about half the height of the jar are about two dozen colourful pebbles. Most of them are round and soft, tempered by time in water and washed up on beaches around the world for me to find. A few come from mountains and highlands and they’ve kept the jagged edges left by the separation from whence they came. Knossos on Crete, Rome Italy, Land’s End England, the Tunesian part of the Sahara Desert, the Mandraki harbour on Rhodes, Meteora in Greece… the beach 10 minutes from my house where I go kayaking in the summer… and so on.
I have no idea why I keep these pebbles. But each is collected with the kind of care that suggests some greater purpose than simply filling a jar on a shelf with nature’s own version of calling cards. They are mementos, though… but randomly picked by fancy rather than meticulous planning. Perhaps it is the idea of having something lasting from fleeting times and visits that appeals to me!?
It’s an illusion, of course. Time doesn’t stop just because we attempt to preserve it. Women filling themselves with botox and silicone still age, even if their increasingly surgically inspired look of shock and surprise does everything it can to hide that fact…. and pebbles in a jar can’t take me back.
Still, I like the jar… and I know I will keep picking up pebbles here and there. Eventually, I might even figure out what to do with them.