Essay: Pretty Stones

Sep 6, 2019

My husband and I are walking along a Lake Michigan shoreline, listening to the waves and leaning into the wind.  Mostly we’re here for the beauty and the exercise, but I can’t resist glancing down from time to time—looking for beach stones.


Of course, we already have buckets and bowls and baskets of stones, sitting on shelves and tables and windowsills. 

“Do you think we should stop looking?” Dick asks.

“But we might miss some rare fossil,” I say,  “Or that agate.”

When Dick and I were first dating, he said he’d find me an agate.  It was a romantic promise and it was over 30 years ago.  “Agates are hard to find,” he says.

I’ve considered returning all our old stones to the beach and starting over, but every time I sort through our various collections I lose my resolve.  Here’s that lovely striped chert and the gleaming white quartz and the almost-perfect Petoskey.

Now I stoop to pick up a reddish stone but when I look closely, I see it’s nothing special.

“What did you find?” Dick asks, coming up beside me.  I open my hand to show him, already knowing what he’ll say.  “Pretty,” he says.

It’s what he always says and I am grateful for his kindness.  Again.