Things in My Office: The Stone, a Symbol of Perfection

It’s time again to introduce you to another item in my office. It’s a stone.


I got this stone while hiking in Colorado. It was a perfect day, with perfect weather, and perfect companions. The trail was the perfect length and not too steep or too flat. There were great mountains in the distance and alpine scenery, the perfect blend of woods, rock outcroppings, and fields, all around. A wonderful brook babbled by. We saw wildlife, loads of birds, chipmunks, and squirrels, as well as the odd mule deer. There were signs of a bear, but, thankfully, not the bear itself.

At one point I stopped, looked around, took it all in, and said, this is perfect. I reached down and took a stone to remember the moment, the very one I now have, in my office.

The stone, I think you will agree, is not perfect. It’s not smooth and polished, taken from a stream. It doesn’t have extraordinary colors, like turquoise. It doesn’t refract light, like a geode or a diamond. Being red, it is a little exotic to anyone from back East, but, in Colorado, it’s very ordinary. The angles are not especially pleasing. Rub it too hard and it will fall apart in your hand. To say it was an ordinary stone would be generous. It’s really a crappy stone, as stones go.

How did such an imperfect stone come to be the symbol of a perfect time in a perfect place? Strange to say, but it has.

You see, in that perfect day there were abounding instances of imperfection.

During that hike, I may have stepped wrong a time or two; I don’t remember. There was no shade every time I wanted some. I got tired and thirsty at one point and had to sit and drink some water. My companions and I did not always agree on everything. The best part of the mountain faced the other way. Some trees blocked a vista. Some huge rocks had to be walked around. My feet got wet in the brook. I missed more wildlife than I saw. And the signs of the bear? I had trouble getting it off my shoe.

None of these imperfections made a difference because the day, in summary, was perfect. Perfection is like that. It doesn’t need to be perfect.