The stones come from a beach in Napier, New Zealand. The candle, as you can see, is a simple tea candle. It burns for about five hours. The piece of wood is drift wood, from an 2010 trip to Kaikoura on NZ’s South Island west coast.
This morning, they are placed on my kitchen counter. The backdrop is regular life. Car keys. Dish towels hanging form the oven handle. A package of buns for sandwiches later today. Regular life meets symbolic artifacts.
There are times when I, and I believe most of us, need fewer words and more ritual energy. I’m in one of those times. Yes, the stones are Zen like. I have a set. My son has a similar set to mark our New Zealand trip together. We collected them from the beach. The candle is stilling to me. A simple fire to gather around, and act that feels very instinctive. It is a call to stillness. To the integration of memory, current experience, and perhaps some future intent.
For the moment, however, this combination is enough to remind me of, and enjoy, a stillness as I weave my way through many emails, projects, and commitments that could occupy many uninterrupted days. That’s what happens after long trips. Stones and candles often help me to do just this.