Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How to create a stone

When I was seven, I thought I discovered how to create a stone.

It was during the summer holidays. I was playing with mud near house, mixing with water and kneading the mud.
When the night fell, I left the mud dough on a gutter cover along the road, and went home to have supper.

The next morning, when I went to see what happened to the mud dough, I discovered a pretty pebble instead. The shape was elongated, not entirely round, and between the edges you could observe beautiful strata of colors.

I was fascinated, and believed (as a seven year old could believe) that the mud dough has somehow turned into a stone overnight.

In September, when the school started, we had to hand in each a short report about our holiday investigations. It was the thing to do for school kids in those days. I wrote a report about "how to create a stone". I theorized that you had to knead the mud dough as tightly as possible. Then you left it outdoors. The cool night air had a certain effect on the mud dough, the details of which were still unknown. By the morning, the mud dough would have been turned into a stone, its coloring depending on the details of condition.

As I look back, the strange twilight zone feeling of really believing in the metamorphosis returns. The magic of childhood.

It was not long before I started to suspect that there was something wrong with the whole idea. I started to understand that in order to make a stone you needed a very high pressure. Like when you are pressed under the massive rocks of mountains.
Despite the creeping doubts, I kept the stone as my personal gem in a drawer. When my father rebuild the house, the stone went missing. The school report was lost, too.

I would dearly love to see the stone and the school report now, if it was at all possible.


kunikotheater2 said...

When I saw the title, I thought you were going to write about ‘philosopher’s stone’. It didn’t go that way but in a way I felt it did..
When I was a child, so many things were magical. I had a similar experience as yours. In my neighborhood we kids created a daily competition to make something hard out of mud. I still remember Shingo-kun’s mud ball did not break when he dropped it from 1 meter high, even from my height 125-centimeter. It was absolutely magical. Shingo-kun became the coolest in the block.
Time went by. We are not kids any more. I wonder where’s our mud ball now? Where did our ‘philosopher’s stone’ go?
It’s sad to think we never find it again but I believe in it’s around. We just need to go for it!

Thanks for wonderful blog as usual!

Anonymous said...

It is nice to hear yours and other people's comments about their experiences growing up. So much of our actions, perceptions, and habits are intimately connected to our childhood memories. I don't have many outdoor childhood experiences because according to my parent's philosophy it was dangerous to play outdoors. Perhaps I can vicariously relive parts of my childhood through your posts.

Petrusa de Koker said...

Thank you for sharing this. Having grown up on the other side of the World, we also loved to play with mud. On our farm, there was a small river and there was always mud and water. Kids mix very well with those. :) My brother and I used to build elaborate miniature irrigation systems of furrows and small ponds to irrigate our make-believe crops. We did not really grow anything. The fun was more in the building than in playing with the completed project. We were also convinced, at the time, that rocks are simply made from clay and sand. We didn’t know about the pressure and heat needed so we simply believed it needed a lot of time to harden. Even though I sometimes go back to the places where we played, it is different now. I’m bigger and somehow the river doesn’t seem so far from the house any more.
Thanx for a great blog.

Ken Mogi said...

Dear, Petrusa.

Thank you for your comment. It is fascinating to know that we grow up with similar fantasies and make-believes no matter where on this planet.

I can almost see myself trying to build an "elaborate miniature irrigation systems" in the backyard. What an inspiration!