The Memory of Stone

Have you ever taken the time to watch a rock erode? I have. It is a fascinating process, seeing the weather eat at something so solid, so permanent. First the rough edges fade into smoothness. Then the more dominant features. Everything that gives the stone character. Long before the stone breaks away into dust, it has lost all its original character. Only the marks left by wind and rain give it shape before long.

I have stood here for countless years, watching. It is all I can do. I had thought, in the beginning, that I would go the way of the stone. That my petrified shape would wear at my edges until there was nothing left. And that, eventually, that would give me my peace in the afterworld, so long denied me. But I did not. The enchantment was too thorough for that. The punishment was to be eternal, they had said. They did not lie.

They are long gone now. Everyone I ever knew is long gone. The civilization that I grew up in has crumbled and lies in forgotten ruins known only to students of antiquity. To them, I am a curiosity. A hallmark of magic long since forgotten. They have tried to analyze me, take samples, all the things that good scientists do. But my mystery is unbroken to them. The past keeps its secrets well.

I do not understand what they say to each other, of course. I do not bother to learn every new language as it comes and goes with the setting sun. There is nothing new to hear. Every generation has its theories, tries the same things to learn from me, and all walk away disappointed to be eventually forgotten. Rediscovery comes an eon later, when fresh eyes turn on me with amazement and hope.

I have forgotten more about this history than any of them will ever know. In fact, I am unsure how I retain as much as I do. The mind was not meant to carry the burden of tens of thousands of years. But perhaps in becoming stone I have adopted its others blessings as well, to carry the memory of every moment it experiences across time, worn into its surface by the passing rain.