Floating Rocks

January 19, 2010

I went to the park yesterday, and was puzzled when I first saw them. Large football-sized grey rocks that were apparently floating on the surface of a lake. I did  a  double take, then a triple take. Yes, they were there, on the surface. But it was only when I looked closer that I realized the lake was still frozen. That’s how the rocks “floated.”

It was 50 degrees, and the multi-week cold spell of below freezing temperatures had finally abated. It was a sunny and pleasant day. So the last thing I expected was to see floating rocks. They were slightly down into the ice, and the ice was clear, not white – so it really did look like they were floating.

About an hour and a half later, when I passed back by, the scene was even more intriguing. The rocks had absorbed heat from the sun, and had begun to melt the ice around them. They were sitting in puddles. But there was still enough ice underneath them to bear their weight although the ice was invisible. Now with the puddles forming, it truly had the appearance of large rocks floating on the surface of the lake. It was a fascinating visual riddle.

But this natural optical illusion was thought-provoking beyond the literal. How often do I see a problem as insurmountable – only to realize later that I merely had the wrong perspective.  Too often, I cling to my own stubborn views, without ever considering that they might not be as solid and reliable as I assume.

If someone had told me they saw large rocks floating on a lake, I’d say they were crazy. But I saw it myself, I know it is true. Perhaps, not in the most literal sense – they weren’t floating, after all – but at least in a metaphorical, visual, illusory sense, they were. To me, that tells me that even the impossible can become possible, given the right circumstances and the right perspective.

I’ll need to remember this the next time I get discouraged about my book, when progress seems slow, when it seems like I may never get done. I will remember these floating rocks, and I will believe that the impossible is just a figment of my imagination – and that the rock that stands in my way, is really just a stepping stone to help me across an otherwise dangerous or impassable path.

© writingreading, 2010