I am a stone. A small stone, rough-edged, lying by the roadside. Afraid of being kicked around, kicked into a tiny hole from which I cannot see anything. Of being kicked into the gutter, from which I may never come out. Cringing as huge trucks drive past, narrowly missing crushing me into tiny pieces.
I grow. And grow. And keep growing. I become a rock, a large one. Enough, I say. But I keep growing. A hill. Enough, I say. No one can kick me anywhere now. Stop. But I keep growing. A mountain, a whole mountain range. Finally, towering above everything, I stop my mad growth. I am a mountain range. Verdant forests clothe my lower slopes. My head is permanently capped in freezing snows. Small streams gather into mighty rivers on my sides. Clouds rest on me when they are tired. The smaller ones go around me. Many of the larger, angrier-looking ones cry when they collide with me, swelling those raging torrents that rush down my sides. Finally, when they can cry no more, they go away, lighter, whiter and happier. Meanwhile, civilisations flourish all around me. Men, tiny men, infinitely-small-and-nothing men tramp all over me. They build roads, clear whole mountainsides, raise crops, dam rivers, build houses, villages, towns, cities. And I am mildly tickled. I laugh a couple of times, but my shaking leaves them crying. Poor feeble things. Must be hard being frail. Finally, I get a bit bored. Want to see life. But how does a mountain range see life. After all, I AM life to these poor miserable creatures. And I am shackled. Shackled by my strength, my size and my might.
I shrink. Shrink till I am a little round pebble, washed down a stream at an exciting pace till, at a bend, I’m pushed to the shore. The freedom is exhilarating. The thought of oblivion no longer worries me. I feel liberated. No one lives on me. I sustain no life. I may be kicked around, but I am not tied down. I pity the mountain, the hill and the large rocks. See me skip downstream, oh you giants. See me and weep. Weep great rivers that will take me around. I gloat, I scream in happiness, I am obscenely happy.
I grow lighter. I am out of the water. I become dry. I’m a feather. The wind takes me here and there. I am caught in a bush. The wind blows me free. Now I float high, now I am dragged in the dust. I hate this. I’d rather be a pebble rolling in a stream than a feather that lives on the whims of the wind. Every time I find a place to rest, the wind has other ideas. Floating somewhere on the edge of a broom, I need to change, more than ever…
I’m small, red and shiny. I’m a small berry, a strawberry. And I’m scared as hell. I hide behind the leaves. Afraid that I’ll be popped into the mouth of the next ragamuffin that passes by the bush. Afraid that the beady-eyed sparrow may take a peck at me – spill my guts out so she can feed those disgusting pink screechers she calls her children. This is scary, big time. I don’t want to be a strawberry.
Once again, the majesty of the mountain range fits me comfortably. And I am content to let the world settle down around me.