01 July 2005

Rock and Tide

The beach was rather large, stretching along the water's edge. Toward the center of the beach, a large rock jutted up from the sand, almost ten feet up. It was the largest rock on the beach, being the only rock larger than the small pebbles that lay strewn on the sand.
There was a legend on the beach that there was once a larger rock. One much larger than the one standing. No one knew where exactly it had been, some sand saying it was over here, some sand saying it was over there, the pebbles offering other possibilities. This rock of legend had held back tides. It had brought sand up from the depths. It had collected pebbles of all types and taught them to live in harmony. There was nothing that the rock was not supposed to have done. The large rock never talked about the legendary rock. Sometimes the pebbles would ask, but they were usually ignored.
When the tide started to come in, the pebbles shouted to one another, "We must move, the tide is coming!"
"We will move," chanted the sand, almost hypnotically.
"I will not move." said the large rock.
The pebbles were surprised by this. "You must move, nothing stands before the tide."
"I will not move."
"The tide moves all. The rock of legend is not here to protect us!"
"I will not move."
"We will move," continued the sand.
The argument grew more heated as the tide moved forward. The sand began to shift around as the waves lapped higher and higher on the beach. The pebbles closest to the waterline began to bounce in the frothing water. But the large rock would not move.
The tide kept coming. It came to cover the whole length of the beach, save for one rock jutting up from the turbulent waters. The rock did not move, but stood still as the tide flowed around it on both sides. When the tide crested, only it and the rock remained.
In time, the tide receded. New pebbles and sand had been upturned and were exposed by the withdrawing water. Pebbles began to attribute their surfacing to the large rock, the only thing of note in any direction.
"Thank you for bringing us here! We shall always be grateful!" yelled the pebbles.
"Shut up," said the large rock.
The pebbles were quiet for a while, but soon they began talking with the sand, about the rock that withstood the tide and brought them together. In time, the rock was attributed with bringing unity to the pebbles and sand. With each telling, it grew larger and more mythical, less real.
When the tide started to come in again, the pebbles shouted to one another "We must move, the tide is coming!"

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