Rock On

Seed of Doubt (Estimation)

A rock. A maple seed. A tiny leaf.

Not all that much, is it?

Okay, so I’ll tell you a story, instead.

We bought a house, (a true story, by the way), a modest, graceful Victorian that hasn’t changed much since it was built in 1871.  And with it came a letter from a man who had lived in the house at least as far back as 1937.

This letter thanked the Concord Museum curator for helping the man find a rock from his childhood. Apparently, that rock used to be at the boy’s home, but had made its way to the Museum.  Its existence was substantiated by a 1937 photograph that he sent to the curator, and was (as the man said) “the bigger of the two” the curator had shown the writer of the letter.

The problem with that story is that the curator believed his “bigger” rock came from the Thoreau House on Virginia road.  And this inconsistency puzzled the man who sold us the house.  He gave us a copy of the letter.  He told our neighbor next door he was certain there were two rocks.  The neighbor described him as “obsessed” by the idea of this rock.

Our excavator, John, uncovered today’s rock while preparing to trench new utilities at our new home.  He knew it was special as soon as he rolled it out, and set it aside out of harm’s way.

“Dawn is going to love this.”

His artist’s eye recognized it as a potential landscape feature — sculpture or bird bath.  But I believe something else touched him, some magic of the human hand.  He was puzzled by the stone. He couldn’t accept the depression in it as natural.  He photographed it.  My general contractor photographed it.

I photographed it.

I’m quite sure it isn’t natural.  I’m quite sure this is a mortar used by native Americans before the 1650s, and the rock of our letter-writer.  And today, I’m going off in search of a photograph taken in 1936.

I am the third generation of owners haunted by a rock.

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