Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Green Stone Woman.

Many years ago, when I lived in Sonoma County and my son was still alive, I wrote a long story called 'The Green Stone Woman.' It was a story about my life then, disguised as a psychological fairytale in which there was no prince charming and in the end of which I died. I had a lot of moments of huge happiness then and other moments of terrible heartache. I felt I lived in a fantastic story myself and that in a way I had lost touch with any sort of ordinary life and only lived in extreme forms of emotions and conditions and predicaments.

The most normal people in my life then, although they could not even pull me close to near normality, were my two children who entered my life on a regular basis and reminded me of where I had come from and the heartache I felt about having left them behind.

One of the things we did, was go to Goat Rock beach where the Russian river emptied into the Pacific ocean and where there was a huge amount of stones washed up on the beach in all sorts of colors and patterns. It was fun to walk around with your head bent down to look for the prettiest stones when they were wet from the shallow waves washing over them. This released all the colors and patterns in them that you could not see as well when they were dry.

My son and I enjoyed doing this the most and we looked for the best stones we could find and became very picky. After a while, we decided to only collect the green stones with special patterns in them.

Now, I don't remember which came first, all those green stones, or one single accidental green stone and the story, but I became the Green Stone Woman and this fact is so intertwined with the existence and memory of my son, that I had pushed it out of my mind until today, when a photo on another blog reminded me of those days on that beach. I guess I am ready to remember that now.

In my mind's eye, I can see us walking there in the bright sunlight, getting excited about an especially pretty stone. My son's patience at looking for them was phenomenal. He was a teenager and you don't expect a teenage boy to get excited about looking for pretty stones with his Mom.

You have to be patient with me. It's like I'm pulling this out of a tiny bright pinhole in a big dark void. These are memories I don't dare look at usually.

I can hear my son's voice, the sound of it, the melody of it, the words he used, the way he talked to me in a slightly joking fashion. I see him walking beside me, very much taller than I was and not done growing yet.

I have about fifteen of those green stones here. I don't remember what happened to the rest of them. It's so long ago and far away. I also still have the story of The Green Stone Woman, but I have had no interest in reading it up to now, because it was written by someone who was emotionally trapped in fantastic highs and miserable lows.

The stones connect me to my son, more than anything else does, more than his ashes. My son is a constant presence in my life. I never question his nearness to me. Sometimes I think that if I will look over my shoulder at the right time, I will see him there, smiling at me. Guarding over me. Somehow making impossible things happen.

I don't know if I can find green stones in this region. I haven't looked for any yet and haven't really been in the right place and in the right frame of mind, but I'm going to start looking for them now, if there is an opportunity. It will also reconnect me to the woman I was then, because although I went through all those highs and lows, it was also a time in which a large part of me became liberated and started to form her own thought processes. It wasn't all bad.

Remembrance isn't such a bad thing, you just have to be ready for it and then give it the place and the honor it deserves. I wish all of you could have known my son, but you know him a little bit, because you know me and we were very much alike.

So tell me, do you have anything like green stones in your life?


Anonymous said...

I didn't know about your son, Irene - I'm so sorry you've had that enormous loss in your life. I also didn't know that you had lived in California (I knew it was in the USA, just not exactly where). But then, I'm a relatively new reader of yours, and I seem to have a great deal to catch up on, don't I?

Those green stones are obviously very symbolic to you and I think it's telling that they are green. Green for growing, rebirth? Are you feeling ready for something new? I know you like change at times (I'm glad you came back to this blogsite, though!), but you sound very much like something bigger is brewing. You are so in touch with your inner self and so open about expressing it all that it'll certainly be interesting to read what happens next in your life!

Gail said...

I am dumb struck!

Babaloo said...

What a lovely post, Irene! I think it's good not to lose touch with who you were in the past. We all change and develop but I don't believe people change fundamentally, so it's good to stay in touch with your past but not let it become the focus of your life.

I'm not sure if I'm making sense here, I hope I do.

I don't think I have green stones or an equivalent in my life. What I do have is a lot of random things that remind me of moments and people in my past. I don't like to let go of these keepsakes (if you want to call them that), so I'm a bit of a hoarder.

Hope you find a green stone soon! I've found some here on beaches in Ireland but the colour really only comes out when they're wet. When they've dried they're more of a greyish colour with a pale green tinge.

Maggie May said...

That is a beautiful post, Irene. Beautifully written. No wonder that you cherish the stones that meant so much to your son.
I'm sure my house is full of nicknacks that remind me of some one I have lost, but nothing specific comes to mind!

Frances said...

Well done. Brave one.
his memory has to make you happy, he gave you a lot and you had that gift for a while.
Maybe that's where the spiritual thing came from recently, thinking about your son again.

Connie Rose said...

I didn't know about your son, Irene. But I do know about where the Russian River meets the Pacific at Jenner. Been there many times. Magical place!

Maureen said...

Wow, what a great post... you are right; your son is always with you. I am so happy that this particular window into your past has opened up and the breeze of fond memories has gusted inside.

I love the name The Green Stone Woman.

I have collected rocks from various places I have visited over the years, but rather than a remembrance, I love to touch and hold them as a part of that place that came home with me.

It's funny you should have come up with this post now; there is a rock-themed post coming up on my blog in the near future as well! Have a great Sunday Green Stone Woman!

Wisewebwoman said...

I love this post, extraordinary and moving.
I am also fascinated with stones, have written poems about stones, visit a man here who is builing a dry stone wall. I so want to build one.
Green stones are meant to be wet, maybe with tears, to glow stronglhy and brightly. Your son lives on in you, my dear.
Special hugs today {{{Irene}}}

Breakfast in California said...

I am sure that he's there with you. I remember him as a happy, laughing boy, playing Legos with my boys, but I remember him on our last visit with you too, so thin, but still smiling. We were all so young then, eh?

Lilly said...

Lovely post. And the stones are very symbolic too. I think we all keep little momentos of people dear to us who have left us or important things or happy times. Its important. Its part of us and who we are. I very much enjoyed your post and I think it means a change is coming for you. Maybe a new door is opening.

Lane said...

I feel I know your son a little better now.
Some memories are so painful they only 'compost' to the surface years later.
What a beautifully written post Irene. Thank you.

laurie said...

what a beautiful post. sad, but not sad. sad, but happy. you are right that sometimes you have to wait a long time to allow yourself to remember certain things. you would remember him, and those days, even without those green stones. but i am glad you have them all the same.

SugarCain said...

Oh, Irene. I meant to post a comment here all day long, but I just can't read this post without bursting into tears. I've done that three times already, and haven't yet thought of the right comment.

What you've written is a beautiful tribute. I remember a little tour of your place where you showed the photo of Brion smiling down at the cat and the bowl of rocks you keep.

You made me think so much of my son. Fortunately, I still have him, but hours away. And I just wanted to hug him today.

I do have a stone my son found on one of our walks down to the river so long ago. I keep it on my bookshelf. On one side it is a dull, nondescript rusty color but on the other side it has been broken and you can see little fossils and glimmers inside. When I hold that rock in my hand, I remember my son's face when he turned it over and saw something that had been waiting for millions of years to show itself. "Look!" he shouted. And held it up to me with that pure joy that I remember most about his childhood.

Sometimes we have to look don't we, just to see if we can stand our memories? To see if they have yet lost some of the pain and have become something of comfort instead of angst. You were brave to tell this story, and the writing is some of the best you've done. It's simply beautiful.

Every time I see a green stone anywhere, I will be thinking of you.

Cheryl said...

I didn't know you lost your son, so very, very sad. You post was so tender and touching and I understand why those green stones are so important and are such a strong connection to your son.

My girls and I love to collect stones too! We collect them in Maine, along the Chesapeake Bay and any where else where water and stone meet. We always bring them home and fill our gardens/walkways with them. To me, they are very spiritual, the whole experience is. I loved hearing about you and your son collecting the green ones. The power of enduring love, that not even death can touch.

I so agree with you about remembering memories when you are ready to do so. I lost my sister 5 years ago, she was 30, I'm raising her daughter, but the memories have to come when I am ready to see.

Thank you for sharing this with us. It will stay with me for a long time, especially when I see a green rock.

VioletSky said...

This is such a moving post. I couldn't come up with any words...

When I was younger I used to live near a Jewish Cemetary and would walk around it so very carefully and wonder about the stones on top of the gravestones. I think that placing a stone instead of flowers at a grave is so much more symbolic. If Ihad any graves to visit, I think I might quietly plant a colourful stone there to cement my feelings of love and respect for that person.

aims said...

Oh Irene.

Lisa Sarsfield said...

Beautiful story Irene. Such precious memories. I am sorry that you lost your Son but I am very pleased that you made wonderful memories together first. Your stones are very precious.
We have a stone here that it's actually called "greenstone" in English and Ponamu in Maori. (Poh-nah-moo) Ponamu is regarded as very precious. It's much like Jade.
For Christmas I bought my husband a large piece of ponamu and we got our son a smaller piece for his birthday and few days later. I am sure that the ponamu will be precious to both the men in my life for many years.

Be well!