Stepping Stones: Unidentified Black Rock

How can a stone I can’t identify have any value?

Well, it’s a little stone my grandmother gave me when I was a little girl of maybe five. I named the stone Samantha, and to a child’s eyes, it was definitely a girl, with a nose, and a back, and a rear end. There was even a spot where it seemed to me she was curled up, kind of like a dog with its legs tucked under itself.


I carried Samantha everywhere with me, and I even found other black, polished rocks that had similar shapes to her. Even though they felt like her, none ever took her place as my favorite.

Over the years, those other polished rocks disappeared, but Samantha didn’t. I’d put her aside as a teenager and when I went off to college, but I’d always find her again, burried at the bottom of my sock drawer or wedged under piles of long-forgotten papers in a desk. She’d show up all of a sudden in a jewelry box or on my dresser top.

I’d pick her up, enjoy running my fingers over the smoothness of her, and then put her away again.

She even managed to make it through two moves, first when Ted and I got an apartment, then when we bought this house.

And then, last year, my perspective on stones changed. I began noticing that they all had different energies, and some were very useful in healing either myself or others.

After beginning to explore this realm, I went looking for Samantha and found her among odds and ends that I couldn’t find any “proper” place for except for the bottom drawer of my dresser.

We loked her up in books, but she wasn’t obsidian (not glassy enough) or jet (not lightweight enough).

I asked my teacher Maggie, but she didn’t know what she was, either.

I resigned myself to the fact that I probably would never know what exactly this little stone was. OK, that was OK; I was perfectly content to just enjoy touching her or carrying her in a pocket (I’d started doing that again after many years of just leaving her sitting wherever I put her down last).

Today, we went to a stone shop. I’d been there twice before, and the owner is very knowledgeable and cares more about the right stones getting to the right people and places than anything else (at least in my opinion). On a last minute whim, I put Samantha in my pocket and figured maybe I’d ask him what kind of stone I had.

Well, he couldn’t identify her, either, but he said that, as soon as I opened my hand to show him what I had, he recognized a stone very similar to one he had that he’d found on a beach twenty years ago. He didn’t know what his was, either, but he liked it.

All I could do was smile. My grandmother had spent a whole day, according to family legend, walking a beach in Cape Cod looking for a rock to bring home for me. My grandmother never struck me as someone that patient, but she was certainly stubborn, and I suppose that, if she got it into her head that she was going to find the “perfect” stone to bring back to her granddaughter, then perhaps she really did spend all day at it.

Never mind, it’s not important. All I know is I still have the stone, and every time I touch it, I think of my grandmother and my heart gets big with the love we’ve shared over my lifetime. It’s like a key that unlocks a treasure trove of stories, memories, and laughter.

I may have named my rock Samantha, but keys that give us access to those invaluable riches need no identifying. They only need to be picked up, cherished, and enjoyed.

Explore posts in the same categories: Crystals and Stones, Family and Friends, metaphysics, spirituality

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