Once upon a time, there was a rock. The Rock had stood alone and proud at the top of the mountain for as long as anyone could remember. It was bleak, and cold and windy at the top of the mountain but the Rock liked it that way. Alone. Up here, the Rock was king. he could see all the colors of the valley below him, But it was, after all, below him. Formed in the heat of the earth, hardened beneath tons of other rock, he needed no one. He was impervious to wind, snow, rain. he reigned alone, strong, lonely. Though the rock was enormously strong, the mountain was not. During the heavy rains it melted away beneath him and he began to fall. And fall. Down and down it fell, farther and farther, until it came to rest in the valley. When the storm ended the rock found himself in the very bottom of the valley. The despised valley. He longed so for his old perch, high atop the mountain that he couldn’t even hear the cry of the birds or appreciate the new warmth of the Sun. After a long while, though the rock began to enjoy the warmer air the milder winds. He began to notice all the life that surrounded him. The flowers that nodded in the soft breeze the tiny crickets and lizards He watched as the animals reared their young. He watched as the field produced its flowers, and especially its grain. Yes the grain. He watched the cycle of growth. The sowing of the seeds, the sprouting of the shoots. The way that they grew into Long, graceful shafts, The harvesting each year as the days grew shorter. The coming of new life each Spring as the Sower sowed his seeds again. As the years passed the rock began to wish that he might take some part in the growing. That he might be permitted to produce grain of his own. And each year, the sower sowed the seeds. And then, one year some seed fell on the rock where the lizard came to sun himself. But no sooner had the seed fallen than the birds came to snatch it away. Year after year he watched as the sower scattered the seed, covering him, as well as the field. But the seed that fell on the rock, Well, he felt as though it were wasted. At least, he thought, the birds were fed. Year after year he was frustrated. Longing more and more that he might be able to hold onto the grain. And year after year his heart was broken. Strange, he thought one year. I didn't know I had a heart to break. But there was something else that he did not know. It wasn't only that his heart was breaking. The horrible crash down the mountainside had sent many tiny cracks through his impregnable rockness. And each year, as the Fall rains fell, they crept into the tiny crevices. And each year, as the water froze, they widened the cracks a little more. Then, one year after another summer of frustration, the water settled into the cracks. And when the snows came the water froze. The rock felt himself splitting, and splitting, and splitting. He wept as he felt his vaunted strength being sundered by the tiny droplets of water. When the Spring thaw came, Well, he just fell apart. Tiny parts of the rock fell all over the field. The rock was so ashamed. He had never felt so low, so weak. And worse than this, worse, much worse, each year the pieces grew smaller and smaller until they were only tiny grains as of sand. And each Summer, as the Sun climbed higher into the sky, the rock prayed that no one would notice that he had been brought so low. Frankly, no one seemed to care. The sower kept on sowing his seeds. The soil went on growing its grain, The harvests came each year. Then, after he had grieved enough, when the Spring came again, The rock thought, "Aha!" "This year, at least, though I may have been brought low, but at least I may keep the seeds!" And indeed, as the seeds settled to the earth, some fell again upon the rock, or rather, among the tiny pieces of him. And low and behold, when the birds came they could not find the seeds. And when the rains came the seeds began to sprout! "Aha!" cried the rock. "This year, I too will bear fruit!" And the shoots grew up, and the rock loved them, cherished them. And the Sun got hotter and hotter. Warming the rock but scorching the tiny plants. And they withered and died. And the rock wept again. His heart was broken again for love of the tiny seeds. "Why?" he asked. "Why has the sower given me seeds if I cannot sustain them?" But there was no answer. Only another winter and another Summer. Year followed upon year. Freeze upon freeze. Reducing the rock to tinier and tinier pieces, enabling him to hold a little more of the rain. And each year the Sower would come. Sowing the seeds again and again. He never seemed to lose hope. Though year after year the tiny shoots would wither again and again. (For water alone was not enough.) And the rock's heart broke, again and again. But as the years passed, something else was happening. Unseen by the rock, the tiny shoots were mixing with the tiny bits of rock and decaying. And each year this new matter, mixed with the bits of rock, grew thicker and healthier. And each year, as the rock grieved the death of the tiny shoots, He grew more and more fertile. And then the Springtime came when the rock had grown small enough, unnoticeable enough, and he had lost enough of the tiny shoots that he was fertile. He had almost given up hope. Each year the shoots had grown a little taller. But still, they had failed. And died. And this year, this year, they seemed to grow taller still. Was he mistaken? Or were they truly taller than they had ever been? Were those tiny heads of grain forming at the tops of the shafts? Were those more of the blessed seeds forming and waving to the world in the soft winds? Yes! Yes they were! His tiny seeds were bearing fruit! The rock looked about. "Look! Look at me! I'm growing seeds! I'm bearing fruit!" And then he realized, That he was now so small and soft that he was no longer visible. He was so filled with the old matter left from his disappointments of old, that his old color, his old texture were gone. Gone. And For the tiniest of moments he was tempted to weep. No one would ever see that he had borne fruit. No one, that is, but the Sower. (For a more easily printable PDF version of The Rock, please CLICK HERE.)
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