Stone Surprised: Weekly Photo Challenge

Surprise? Wonder? The unexpected? Stones surprise me. I can’t help being attracted to stones – as a three year old I happily spent summer hours digging holes in our back garden for them.

I don’t hoard stones – only have a couple at home that still ‘speak’ to me. Funny that.

Last year I had to photograph this beauty before I parted with it … gave it away as a Thank You note. The recipients were very gracious and said they’d put it in their garden.

It was the best one I’d found while I was walking along the shore at Glenelg, on Scotland’s west coast. I crunched along the rocky beach, looking over to Skye, listening to the soft swish of the water and the occasional sheep bleat from the hills. There wasn’t a soul around and then I looked down.DSCF4798

Look at all the stories in these stones. How did they get those marks? Where have they come from? How long ago? Is that a man’s face? What happened to him?  I spent another happy hour searching.

When the sun went in, I stumbled away with the stones I couldn’t leave behind in my pocket. DSCF4796

Stories are like that.

When I think of a story about surprises and stones, I recall a favourite Tibetan folktale, an initiation story, called The Boy, His Sisters, and The Magic Horse from Gioia Timpanelli’s collection. (I’ve mentioned this story before in an earlier post.)

An old hunter’s young son refused to kill any animal. Next morning the boy’s surprised when his father leads him to a freshly dug hole and tells him to get in. Although he’s very afraid, the son does as he’s told and his father slides a big stone over the top. His father then scrapes on it “Open or not as you please” and walks away.

After some hours, while the boy sits motionless, but for the tears down his cheeks, three monks come walking past. They see the sign on the stone which makes them curious and they stop. If anything, most stones would usually have ‘Om mani padme hum‘ written on them. The lamas debate what to do, agree to open it up and are surprised to see a boy looking up at them. They help him out and the boy’s adventures begin …

Surprise is an essential elements in any story…as well as in everyday life…just have to stay involved and pay attention…never know what might happen next…when you least expect it…all part of coming to terms with the certainty of uncertainty.

Surprise

Reference sources

Om mani padme hum. Wikipedia. Accessed 13 April 2017. (See photo of stone with this  inscription)

TIMPANELLI, Gioia. The Boy, His Sisters and the Magic Horse in Tales from the Roof of the World: Folktales of Tibet. New York, Viking, 1984. pp 3- 13. (NB. Tale is also known as ‘The Young Man Who Refused to Kill.)

All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Snippet 4: Highland Hens

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Driving off on a single track road one morning –  to see where it ends. Trees ‘marry’ when they meet over the road. It’s a lovely day for it.

We heard from locals in Glenelg that the views across to Skye are great from there. And there was a tea-house where we could stop before the return journey.

There was only a straggle of cottages along the bay. Some older that the rest. But where was the Tea shop? A local directed us to the last house.

The Tea Hut at the end of Corran village

The Tea Hut at the end of Corran village

It was cool in the shade so the wood stove was lit inside. It was snugly filled with armchairs and one big table. After cakes and an enormous pot of tea, I wandered past ruins, towards the loch.

Old houses - rock walls, some corrugated iron roofs - the last in the village

Old houses – rock walls, some corrugated iron roofs – the last in the village.

… and met the happiest of hens.

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Happy highland hens

They had a play-mate who bounded up and pranced among them.

Hens' playmate with Skye ahead

Hens’ playmate with Skye ahead.

She was a bit bemused when I told her she’s put them off the lay.

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Corran-end of the road Glen Arnisdale

The end of the road in Glen Arnisdale. Time to turn around wistfully … and drive back to Glenelg in time for a great lunch in the garden.

Another perfect Autumn day.