I was searching for the skips of stones across the water. Not the water. Not the stone. Not the sound. Not the splash that spins off of either, either. The skips. I was searching for the skips. I was searching for the skips in and of themselves. And not the skips that are skipping now nor the skips that will be skipping in the future, the skips to come. I was looking for the skips of the past. Not in the past. Of the past. What happened to them? Where did they go? Where are they now?
One skip would suffice. Plural skips aside, knowing that one skip may not, and in all reality, or whatever we deigned to term, call, be or accept as reality, be representative of all skips, one skip was all I sought. From back then.
The skip eludes the senses. It can dodge ontological inquiries but can’t evade the mind. Specifically, my mind. The thought struck me to perform this in a controlled environment. At night. Pitch black dark night when all other senses would be rendered mute, moot or senseless, too. So I went to the river after the rains had ended and the shad had run and flung the flattest stones I could find and listened for the skip, as if they were echoes, successive generations that carried in them the skip like a long nose, a chortle, a drinking habit, and then I wondered. What did a stone sound like dropping to the river bed? As if finding them asleep in the silt I could stir them wake and say, tell me, tell me about the skips of the past?
I felt the arm pull back, the feet brace firm in the muddy bank, heard the exhalation as the arm whipped and then the sonority of the whole world concentrated in that moment. The emptiness of that moment was the skip. In and of itself. And I realized this was the sound. The sound of me at 2:35 am where George Washington crossed the Delaware River. And then it was gone. Glurping down to the silt of the river’s bed. But who knows? Who really knows what a stone falling through the water to the bottom of a river really sounds like? Not me.
I do know that memory is silence. Memory is a stone. Falling down to the bed of a river. Glurp.