The “new” rock sings when I hold it. It makes the nerves in my hand and arm vibrate gently.
It looks sexy as hell with aerodynamic edges last seen on a sports car and sloping curves last seen on dat ass. It is a pleasure to the eye as the light slips over the creases where the slow moving lava kneaded itself in mythic time and teases an orange creme color from the uncountable miniscule cavities that gives the stone the semblance of petrified skin.
When cold, the rock feels of the water that shaped it and placed where my proxy would find it by mere chance once upon a vacation. The rock slides over the cupped palm the way water slid over the fracture that led to its release into the stream that would tumble the surgical edges into deceptively safe contours and polish the impudent rough surface into unyielding softness.
When cold, it repels warmth. As I roll it between fingers, it tries to slip away from them. It does not try to chill the hand that holds it, but it does not accept being held either. As if it remembers the stream and the constant cool temperature that nurtured its final form and seeks to return to the watch of time as the water that mastered it finally erodes it into sand that flows to join the sea.
But if you are persistent, and you warm the stone to your hands, then a different character emerges. It clings even as it slips faster in your grip. Not to escape, but to play. It demands motion, constant motion that reminds it of the time (the mythic time) when it was the blood of the earth and the quickening that moved continents like game pieces.
The light moves faster across the surface when it is warmed. The pores reflect brighter as if the core of the rock remembers the heat that loved and nurtured it in the depths. The ends of the oblong rock develop a strange heat to them. They should be the first to cool when released, but they feel hotter than the body of the rock itself, as if these are the poles of a magnet.
Which it well may be, though to an extent that would require precise tools to measure. The ancient lava rock, now considered basalt by those who like making distinctions, is very heavy for its size. The color of the pores’ interior and the kneaded seams smell like rust and degraded olivine, after all. So it would be a safe assumption that the rock contains a substantial amount of iron.
Which explains the other sensation I feel when I have warmed the rock to my body’s temperature. Blood. Here I have been careful because the stone starts to tap into sensations and responses that can be overwhelming if not explored in proper context. The stone becomes hungry for more warmth, and more attention, and more focus. It becomes a conduit and connector to something and with not even twenty-fours hours having passed since receiving the ordained gift, I know I need to step carefully.
He said he was more concerned about angering whatever was watching him than my proscription against taking lava rocks or rocks from obvious lava tubes. As he is indifferent to religions as a whole, and attends [Christian] church only for the familial bonds (and the food), to hear him speak any reverence or actual fear about a spirit of place should have warned me that this indulgence of my “back country woman hobby” was going to be a lot more than having an enduring token from a place I once lived in.
The rock’s song ceases when I place it on the table. I can feel the cooling of the substance even though I’m not holding it anymore. It fits my hand as if it were carved for the purpose. I close my eyes and see it singing itself back into a lithic slumber.
It was in Hawai’i that I saw and accepted spirits that weren’t angels and weren’t demons as the fundamental Christianity I was involved in at the time defined such things. The things I saw driving through the pineapple fields in the middle of the night kept their distance, but sometimes would wave back in greeting. I could feel them brushing against the edges of my mind, but after the vision that truthfully foretold a devastating series of actions at the church I attended then, I tried to shut down my sight completely. I tried to forget.
It would appear something in Hawai’i hasn’t forgotten me.