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All Lined Up

The sun took its time on the rise that day. The pilot was saying, "Thirty years I been doing this and I don't think I've ever seen that many planets lined up so perfectly. Pretty cool." A hand-drawn line indicated the one, two, moon, three, and four planets in a tight diagonal from the bottom left to top right of the windshield: Saturn, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter. All lined up expectant and bright for the new day.

Three hours later, still on-the-job, (let's call them) Fry and I had just wrapped up a survey. The craggy landscape slideshow below bored us after a while and we meandered into the zone of professional chattitude.

"Wow, really?" Fry asked at 1,500 feet, "that's funny because I have rocks stashed all over my car from all kinds of places." Anecdotes and phones began passing between the passenger seat of the cockpit and where I folded myself up behind the pilot's seat.

Now, muscles unscrunched on the airstrip, stiffening against a sharp spring wind, I deliberated. This was only Day 5 of New Job. Only Day 2 of having met Fry. Too soon to pass on the pocket rock I carried on my person from Duluth, MN, to Spearfish, SD? What is too soon for folks who hardly ever see their coworkers in-person, anyway?

"Hey, so, uh, I do this thing," I was off with rockstar poise, "where I keep rocks I find in my pocket and when I come across someone who ....gets it.... I pass it on to them." I blinked determinedly, a fist knotted around the smooth lump I slinked out of my pocket. "The rock, I mean," I added helpfully, "I have this rock that, if you like, you should keep." We were separated by more than a meter and I straightened my arm, stone fixed betwixt index and thumb. "Here." Fry took it and asked what it was, though guessing within a microsecond of inspection. It could only be petrified wood, freshly pocketed from the tumbler back home. I often wonder if the rockosophy is catching. It's always been a thing- but every now and again I see threads anchoring to other cornerstones that also resonate with folks. Outside the rocks bit, I mean. The wholesale Birds Rocks Bliss, where the social media driven reduction of a person into tiny, bite-sized, strictly-branded, consumable units succumbs to the wide-angle view we crave to be seen, and by extension see others. A more complete image coalesces into focus.

Back in the air, Fry said, "I wonder if this frequency is getting picked up by any air traffic controllers? Weird to think someone sitting miles away is listening to us talk this whole time about birds and rocks." The smile I cracked pushed my cheeks into the radio headset, "I think they'd get it, most people do. I call it rockosophy." With love & nothing else, Rockosopher

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