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The polished story stones

I want you to tell me one of your stories.

I want to hear your sing-song voice begin with "Once upon a time..."

Like this -

"Once upon a time, in a deep dark forest, there was a girl who wandered alone and lost. She could hear the wolves, and their voices seemed to catch the hem of her apron and pull at her. The path was long lost, and she did not remember the turning of it from path to wilderness."

Now you.

Once upon a time...

What is the story of yours that comes to your mouth and waits to be said? Do you allow it, following its path into wilderness? Do you hold it behind your gritted teeth, clenched jaw, pressed lips?

Stories become like polished stones. We tell them and tell them, inside our minds, and to friends, family, children. As they are told again and again, they become a solid thing, with weight and substance. Reach into your apron pocket and pull a few of your story stones out and look at them, here in the kind light of the forest sun.

What do you see?

How heavy are these stones? Do they wear away at your pockets, pulling at the threads until your clothes are pulled out of shape by their gravity?

Shuffle these stones for a moment. What do you hear?

Once upon a time a wicked mother...

Once upon a time an innocent maiden...

Once upon a time an abandoned grandmother...

The stories of what we have done, and of what has been done to us.

Shuffle them again in your hands, these polished story stones. What do you hear?

Once upon a time a lucky girl...

Once upon a time a good mother...

Once upon a time a wise grandmother...

Which stones ring like bells inside? Which ones warm you and which ones glow to light your path?

Our stories are our "normal," and some of them we want to keep in our apron pockets where they ride warm against our bellies, singing to our bones and reminding us of who we are. Some of them need to be questioned, and held up to the sun. Some need to be placed in a forest stream to be cleansed and blessed and worn away by water and winter.

What do you find in your apron pockets today, as you turn your attention inward, and hear yourself say "Once upon a time..." in a sing-song voice?

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