(c) by H Jacob Buller
I am a pebble. Small, shiny and polished by the ether that runs over me in never-ending rushing.
I cannot hear, I cannot taste. I am a pebble. I am one in many, one in billions. Not all in this stream of course, but I hear there’s a big pond at the end of it where the ether gathers before it ascends into the sky. Someday I will see it.
When the ether falls from the sky, this stream grows and widens. With the ether flows many different things. I have seen pebbles and berries and even trees rush past, heading for that great pond at the end of the river.
Yesterday a berry came to rest against me. The berry is round like me, but soft and pliant. Pebbles usually grow old with other pebbles, but this berry I don’t think is going to leave anytime soon.
Today the berry asked if I was a berry. I said No, I am a pebble. Like many others.
The sandbar shifts with the current, and suddenly I am no longer part of the rock bed.
I curse the ether for doing this, but the berry is still here, and says good things to me. I feel better. The ether turns orange, and soon the shiny pebbles in the sky look towards us.
I tell the berry about how the pebbles got there, cast up by a giant stone that came from the sky.
The ether turns yellow, completing the fire cycle, and the current shifts again. This time though, the berry can’t help it, but the ether lifts it up and out and before we can say goodbye, it’s gone.
I am a pebble, just another pebble.
Yellows and oranges come and go, and after a few hundred I am carried away down the sandbar over the rock bed. The ether suddenly darts away, and I am pounded into a muddy bank. The ether subsides and for the first time in ten thousand fire cycles I am above the ether. Everything is green now. I think I am going to be here for a long time.
Beside me something is growing. I realize that it is the berry, transformed!
I am a pebble, high and dry.
Fire cycles pass and my berry grows and grows. Soon the berry is a tree. Towering high over the ether, shielding it from the glare of the fire cycles.
I am proud of my berry, for it has grown into a tree. I tell it that. We are happy. I wish that I could grow, for too much time in the ether will eventually dissolve me.
Ten thousand fire cycles pass, and my tree begins to wilt. It is dying. Another hundred pass, and the empty husk falls into the ether, swept out to the big pond at the end of the stream.
I am a satisfied pebble.