A couple of weekends ago I went for a walk up East Rock, trying to clear my head after a misunderstanding with a friend. All the way up to the summit I was disturbed and upset by my obsessive thoughts. Finally, as I started heading back down, I picked up a smallish, irregularly shaped stone from the side of the path. All the way back down I held it tight in one hand: "tighter, don't relax, don't let it go, you have to hang on, you have to keep this as close as possible; it doesn't matter how much it's hurting, how the edges are digging into your hand, how stiff your fingers are getting, or how much easier these steep steps would be with two hands free to balance; you've got to hang on tight tight tight."
On the bridge at the bottom of the hill I stood for several minutes, letting the sunlight warm and soften the hard knot between my shoulder blades. I held the stone in my open hands, thinking about all of the things I've been holding onto--this fear, this grudge, that desire, that image--and finally brought the stone close to my face to whisper to it, "goodbye, stone."
I threw it into the river and watched its ripples fade.
As I walked home, I picked handfuls of the flowers that had begun to bloom along my path.