A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I was sitting on the patio tonight looking around and thinking (yes, I do that - sit there and think or daydream without moving for hours - been that way since I was a child) when I noticed that my roommate had stacked up a few pieces of rock and debris into a mini cairn under the oleanders. While my philosophical side (Right Brain) was being impressed with his creativity and thinking what a cool idea that was, my logical side (Left Brain) went straight to my Ego to collaborate. They whispered in a remote corner of my mind...
Left Brain: Hey, did you see what Roommate did? How cool of him.
Ego: We can do it bigger and better, but we need Right Brain to make it look all creative. Don't tell Right Brain what we're up to.
Left Brain: Ok. Wait... what? What are we up to? (Trails after Ego...)
Left Brain and Ego then go to Right Brain and say, "C'mon... let's build one too! Let's be creative and make it look all zen back here on the patio!" Right Brain was all, "OK!!" and fell right into it.
I have plenty of river rock that lines a small pathway between my patio and the green common area behind my condo (thanks to Boyfriend and same said Roommate). I immediately jumped over there, picked out a few rocks and proceeded to stack them up under the oleanders to the right of Roommate's little pile. Sitting back in my chair, Right Brain was all kinds of happy. "Look what we did! Yay! Rocks are cool! That was fun!" Left Brain and Ego were over in the frontal lobe stirring up trouble tho...
Left Brain: 1... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6 rocks. (Then in the Count's voice from Sesame Street, "Ahh ahh ahh ahhhhhh...")
Ego: Ha! It's more rocks than Roommate put together! We win! We have a taller cairn! Wait, is it called a cairn?
Left Brain: I dunno. Let's go look it up on the computer. (Which we did. Yes, it is called a cairn, but I could've sworn there was some other zennish Tibetan word for this kind of thing. If there is, I couldn't find it. Oh well.)
Ego (back on the patio admiring our handiwork): Awesome! Geez, when is Roommate gonna be home so we can show him we outdid him? Silly surfers.
Left Brain: Six rocks... hmmm... I'll bet we could get one more on there.
Ego: Yeah! Yeah! Let's put one more! Then it will be EVEN BIGGER!
Right Brain leans in: Six is good, but seven is better because it's a cooler number overall plus then you have one rock for each direction; north, south, east, west, above, below, and within.
Left Brain: Fine. Get one more.
We get one more and manage after a couple attempts to balance it on top.
Ego: WOO HOO! We now have seven! No one can beat us! We are the best rock pilers ever!
Right Brain: Uhh, guys? Does the pile look a little... I dunno... too orderly or something?
Ego: What? NO! It's awesome! Shut your synapse over there!
Left Brain: Of course it's orderly. All the rocks are nice and uniform and most are flat so easily stacked...
Right Brain: Yeah, exactly. It was EASY. Took like ten minutes tops. That means it was just winning a stupid contest (a non-existent one at that)... what did we learn from the experience? Nothing. Aren't we a little more creative than that? Shouldn't this inspire more thought? Reflection? Something? There is more to this than just putting one rock on top of the other.
Ego: Shut up Right Brain! You don't know what you're talking about. This rock pile is an indication of how amazingly spiritual we are and it's BIGGER than Roommate's. That's all that counts. Wait until he sees.
Right Brain: Yeah, I dunno. I just think it's not very CREATIVE. I mean it's really rather BORING and predictable all stacked with the biggest on the bottom and the smallest on the top - is that an indication of who we are? Boring and predictable? Gods, I hope not. Ours looks like a child did it.
Ego: Does NOT!
Right Brain: (Glances over at Roommate's cairn.) Yeah, ours may be bigger, but his is definitely better because it's creative. It was inspired. You know how he is... he sits out here thinking just like we do. He was probably out here looking around and got inspired. Look at it... his has different materials (not just the river rock) and they're all different shapes and sizes and stuff. Definitely better than ours, even if it is smaller. It's more thought-full. More is not always better.
Ego: Yes it is.
Left Brain (looking disdainfully at Ego): True, Right Brain. I hadn't thought of that. I do like that ours is logical and uniform but it's not nearly as creative as Roommate's - ours is definitely boring. Perhaps we should spice it up a bit.
Ego: Gods, you can be a drag Right Brain.
Right Brain goes and picks out other, differently-shaped rocks from the pathway and tries to balance them. It's much harder and takes a lot longer. Right Brain then tries using a twig in the stack, tumbling the whole thing many, many times over.
Ego: This SUCKS now. Thanks Right Brain.
Right Brain: Does not suck! It's supposed to be meditative! Shut up while I keep trying to balance this!
Ego: YOU shut up. I'm off to pout.
Left Brain: Here... try it this way... no that way... crap. Try this... no, that... ok, do this again... crap. An engineer would probably have this figured out in 10 seconds. Gods. Let's give up.
Right Brain: No! I'm having fun here. If it's not seven rocks tall it's not the end of the world.
Left Brain: But you HAVE to use all seven rocks because seven is a cool number and we already HAVE seven rocks!
Right Brain: I don't HAVE to do anything. We'll see what comes out.
Silence for a good 20 minutes.
Ego leans in: Are you all ZEN now, idiot?
Right and Left Brain: SHHHHHH!!!
Many, many failed attempts later...
Right Brain: Ok, I think there was probably nothing wrong with the original orderly pile. Maybe that IS just who we are deep down. I dunno. I'm okay with it being orderly but maybe we can put the twig on top like some kind of antennae. Yeah, that's it. It's a Snail Control Tower instructing all the snails in the bushes who can go on which slime trail so there are no accidents.
Ego: You are RETARDED.
Left Brain: Okay, we'll do the orderly pile but we still have these other few rocks left over and of course we can't just throw them back because we already picked them up for a purpose.
Right Brain: Ok, we'll build a second cairn next to Roommate's and leave the first orderly Snail Control Tower pile over here. That way they're all used AND we get to show two different sides of us.
Left Brain: I'm good with that.
Right Brain: I don't remember playing like this since we were really little. This is kinda cool. Who knew rocks were so fun! I'll bet if you post this on the blog people will think it might be time to look into a good asylum for us.
Left Brain: Ha! Could be.
We build another cairn next to Roommate's with the remaining rocks, plus we add in a piece of bark that we had tried to use to rebuild the Snail Tower.
Right Brain: That one is awesome too! And it doesn't look nearly as boring as the Snail Control Tower. It's about the same height as Roommate's too. Yay for unity and like minds!
Left Brain: Yeah, that's pretty cool. Can we sit and think again now?
Right Brain: Ok, I'm just going to admire the handiwork close up for one more minute.
Ego (sneaking back in): You know, there's a couple chips of concrete laying there. That would be a third material. Might add something cool.
Right Brain: Don't fix what ain't broke.
Ego: I'm not trying to fix anything! Just think it would be cool on top. They're different sizes and shapes and stuff.
Right Brain: Ok fine.
Ego: (Smug grin)
Right Brain: There. Two concrete chips on top. Now it's done.
We sit back down on the chair.
Ego: HA. The "creative" one is two concrete chips taller than Roommate's.
Right AND Left Brain: SHUT UP EGO.
~~~~~~~ <3 <3 <3 ~~~~~~~
If you want to see a true master of rock stacking, check out Jim Needham from Carmel, CA. :)