Drop Another Stone in the River
One of the delights of my vacation this summer was building rock cairns along the way. The first I built were on the banks of the South Fork of the Kings River. We were at the far end of Kings Canyon National Park, the sometimes ignored sibling of Sequoia National Park.
My family and I spent a long stretch of one late morning in the Zumwalt Meadow just tossing rocks in the river, wandering along the bank, staring up at brilliant skies. And I was so drawn to the smooth, round river rocks that I began stacking them. Then we were all stacking them. We left a half dozen stacks behind for the next travelers to find.
I became a fan of Carrie Newcomer just days before this part of our trip. She sang at the Alliance of Baptists gathering at Asilomar. In her collaboration with Parker Palmer she wrote “Stones in the River.” Here are the opening words:
There’s a crack in the glass where the water gets out.
There’s a dusty wind when the heart’s in drought.
And the map of the world looks as if true north,
I can live divided or bent
Conspire in my own diminishment
Or believe in the better world I’ve dreamt
That grows from inside out
Chorus: So today I’ll drop stones into the river.
And the current takes them out into forever.
And the truth is most of us will never know,
Where our best intentions go.
And still I’ll drop another stone.
“This song was inspired by a conversation I had with Parker J. Palmer about how small our actions are in the large and rushing river of time. And yet, each stone cast into a river may be the final collective bit that changes the course of the water. And so we all search for our spirit’s true north, we offer our best intentions to the world, and we cast our stones into the water.”
So tonight no matter how small the deed is or how insignificant you may feel, this story and song invite you to drop one more stone in the river of intention. Who knows where it might go?