Andy knelt down and picked up Rhonda, the round-shaped stone. He carefully studied the subtle gradations of pink and grey banding on the smooth outer surface of the stone. He bounced it up and down in his hands, getting a feel for its weight, and then gently rolling and turning it over as if it were alive, and hesitating briefly, he said.
"You are a very round stone. Very round, and very smooth. Where am I going to put you?"
He turned to the wall and shifted a couple of other stones and then cleverly placed Rhonda not far from the square stone.
Feeling good about his decision he announced in a matter of fact tone, "Right there is a good place for you, I think " as if it was the most normal thing to be talking to a stone.
He heard it ! As clearly as if someone had spoken it. No doubt. No confusion. It was the stone that had spoken to him. A stone! A cold hard lifeless inanimate object. A dumb stone. How could that be?
Andy stepped back and looked at Rhonda.
He knew inside that the next moments in his life were going to be monumental. He knew that if he chose to, he would be stepping beyond anything explainable, beyond the bounds of mankind's experience in terms of communicating with matter, beyond the realms of human interaction with anyone or anything except their own species. He paused and took a great breath.
Was he going to really try to try to talk to a stone? Yes, he had done it thousands of times. Cursed them, complained, told them what he intended to do with them, wondered where they came from, praised them when they broke the right way, and so many other meaningless insignificant comments. But here and now was something of such a different order of magnitude, the strangeness, the awkwardness, left him almost paralyzed.
"How do you talk to a stone?" He thought. "How do you really talk to a stone? What do you say? Do you say, I am Andy, who are you?"
The idea of saying anything became completely unimaginable. His heart was racing. He purposely tried to slow his breath down.
"Can you hear me?" was not going to work. It sounded pathetic, too needy, he thought to himself.
The stories of Saint Francis came to mind - the monk who was friends with the animals, and yes even spoke to the sky and the earth and all sorts of things.
"Hello brother tree, hello brother stone," Andy sounded the words in his mind. "That was pretty much what he said, wasnt it? A formal greeting, not overly familiar, just a natural convincingly understated acknowledgment of another's presence"
Andy was frozen in time, his mouth was drying up, his thoughts blurring into one another.