There are lot of trails where I live. You can leave civilization for a few minutes by just entering some of these into the woods. I have self-appointed myself “Protector of the Trails”. I carry a bag where I put all sorts of things that don’t belong there: plastic bottles, cans, plastic pieces. Thankfully, there are not many.
I find it easy to let my mind wander off climbing through these paths with Kate. Listening to the tiny drops falling from branches. Seeing specks of dust floating and forming rays through old stumps, and new trees growing on them when the sun shines.
I have come to recognize the shapes of the roots, the marks on the boulders, the pebbles around the tiny streams that change over the seasons.
One of those pebbles in a nice corner of my favorite trail was oddly shaped. It was barely surfacing over the dirt, half hidden behind the rotting leaves of the fall.
Every day I would walk past it, and every day I heard it telling me to set it free. I scrapped a little bit on the corner. It was lighter colored than anything surrounding it. This morning, my son came along, and we walked again past it. I picked up a twig and slowly removed the muddy contours, revealing a shape that is infrequent in nature. A perfect square. Its corner to be precise, although the vertice was long gone.
Slowly, the pebble gave away its secrets. And another shape emerged. An unmistakeable “R” next to a “B”. I removed all the dirt and mud on half of the perimeter of the pebble. And all from the top. The pebble was a brick.
Born in the XIX century in Scotland it turns out. “PATENT R.BROWN & SON PAISLEY”. Its journey from Paisley, Scotland to Redmond, WA will remain a secret forever. Did it arrive in a train? on a boat? was it destined to some other place? Was it part of a building? Throughout its existence it must have witnessed hopes, sadness, joy, celebrations, ambitions, progress, decadence and oblivion. Until it encountered us. And now with this post it enters the virtual and the digital. Transcending its ancestral earthly existence and becoming immortal.