I’m a compulsive collector of stones. Every beach I go to, I pick up at least one. There are stones on my mantelpiece, my chest of drawers, my kitchen nooks, in my bag, in the pockets of jackets I haven’t worn for a while, and my car.
My Dad has been known to remove stones from dashboards before driving a vehicle belonging to (or even just being borrowed by) me.
I took a trip up further north, to spend a day on beaches (yes in April in scotland. I took lots of layers too), sampling ice cream, and pottering about in antique shops. I collected a few new stones too. Some of which have only made it as far as the back seat of the car.
I forget how heavy stones are, individually they’re not a big deal, but get two or three together and it starts to weigh you down. More than that and you really feel it as you’re walking to your destination.
So often I collect things in my life the same way. Stones ground you, and sometimes I let the experiences and conversations and idle chit chat so the same. I ignore the meat of the thing, I hold right to the piece that makes me feel safe and refuse to let go, even if it would be good for me, or for you. I get to choose to put things down, and yet so often I choose not to. This lent was supposed to be about letting go of some of the physical clutter that is surrounding me, and to a degree, yes, that happened. On a much broader scale, no – i cling to the clutter.
I’m not sure what this collection of stones says about me, but it’s a habit I’m more mindful of than ever before.