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Stone Age

August 9, 2023

The boys have a book, A Street Through Time, that depicts the same place over a period of 12,000 years. While some of the eras’ names are familiar, I have to admit I had never before heard the early 1800s called “The Grim Times.” I’m not quibbling: those were, after all, the halcyon days of rampant maternal and infant mortality, soot-filled skies, slavery, child labor, contaminated water and spoiled meat (are we having fun yet?) But it does beg the question: were those times really THAT much grimmer than others? 

Another moniker, this for the prehistoric period: The Stone Age. This was the time when early man first used stone tools, and is divided into three periods: Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic. To that list I might add another: Aiden-lithic. This is the current period, centered in and around various bodies of water (ocean, bay, lakes pond), and featuring a nine-year-old boy and his skipping stones. 

Aiden does not just love this pastime—he is utterly passionate about it. His days at the beach are largely spent skipping stones across the water’s surface, and he never wearies; his audience (the grownups) may weary, but the Skipper does not. “Did you see that, Nana? Eight skips!!” and he awaits my kudos. Now, mind you, he doesn’t REQUIRE adulation, it’s just a nice extra. Peter, on the other hand, prefers to work in solitude. This morning when he successfully skipped a stone, and I missed the moment, Peter consoled me, “It’s OK. I am my own audience.” 

Both boys are, of course, a blend of their parents, with a healthy dash of their own unique selves. But it is striking that young Aiden applies himself to pursuits like stone skipping, with the same singleness of purpose his father once devoted to pitching a baseball, or scoring in Skee-ball at Funland.

I was never a stone skipper. I lacked the coordination for one thing, also the attention span. Even as an adult church leader, I just couldn’t stick with it. I once led an exercise on a youth retreat involving the ripples a single stone makes when thrown into water (I think the point was the profound effect one action has on others). Anyway, about three seconds post stone launch, when the first ripples were just appearing, I yelled, “See? Ripple effect! Now let’s have lunch!”

But now, I am noticing stones—big ones, little ones, flat and round ones—as I search for good specimens for Aiden’s skipping pleasure. In the past, I only had eyes for seashells (and those are still my faves), and I never even registered stones on the beach at all. 

How much else in this amazing world am I oblivious to? 

Much. But I’m trying to improve, and see this Stone Age through Aiden’s keen eyes. Aiden, who is teaching me perseverance, and enthusiasm, and the pure joy of a smooth stone breaking the surface of the sea. 

My Eras Tour. Taylor Swift, eat your heart out.

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    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: www.eliseseyfried.com or email me at eliseseyf@gmail.com.

     

     

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