I hold in my hand a stone I inherited from my grandmother, Helen Lemmon. Though polished, the stone is not of a uniform shape, but rather forms a distorted heart. I do not know the type of stone it contains, but the colors are of amber and milky quartz, separated by fissures. I also do not know the story of the stone, only that it was given to me by my aunts when my grandmother passed away nearly a decade ago. It was on a silver chain (which now is in a bottle I keep with me) when I received it, and was worn by me several times.
The stone has long affected me strongly. When I hold it I always feel strong emotions and usually gain some tears in my eyes. I was quite close with my grandmother, having spent much of my childhood with her, and I still treasure memories of her, though they have sadly faded through the years. I recall walking with her along the woods road by her home, and putting together puzzles with her during her last months among the living. This evening, more than any I can remember, has awakened the feelings the stone brings about. It’s a haunting rock.
Tonight I discovered a new folk band that will most likely be filling the music space of my tower room for some time. Solas is an Irish traditional group considered to be one of the greatest in the world. The instrumentation is superb and the vocals of equal excellence. “The Unquiet Grave” and “The Stride Set” are my current favourite tracks, but all those I’ve heard thus far are beautiful and of the greatest quality. I owe the discovery of this wonderful band to Mr. Charles de Lint, who mentioned them in the introduction to one of his fine novels. Yet another debt do I owe to him for allowing me to find a new artist. I did, afterall, learn of Ani Difranco through his works.
I’ve also been listening to a handful of other artists this evening, including Incredible String Band, Dar Williams, Gillian Welch, Emmy Lou Harris, and Shearwater. I haven’t explored the folk genre as much as I would like, so I’ll be delving into that when I am able. The first album I wish to hunt down once I have the change will be Solas’ The Edge of Silence.
Won’t someone come to my tower with fiddle in hand and reel away the night? An island of the past comes to my mind, though it is reflecting an older isle. I hear the voices of ancestry and prepare to add my own song.
I sit by the window holding the lamp before me. The sea is distant, though the moon’s drawing near. Worlds lie around me, but I must drink of my own and contently gather nourishment from the forest.
I sit with an amber beacon.