Enormous, God-knows-how-many-ton boulders.
There are at least five at home, grouped around.
I don’t know how or when he got them, much less how he moved them (
pickup truck, imagefeeling of push pull like the limestone-haulers of Egypt
) It was great fun, leaping on the massive stones.
My mother was ... she planted a giant chrysanthemum bush around one.
Azaleas next to another, relieved the two were under the ancient holly.
He parked his car into her rose of sharons.
Chinese aesthetic categories to judge rocks as works of art:
tou / lou / shou / zhou
perforation / indentation / leanness / texture
My father likes huge rocks.
Jagged, solid, corpulent like a football player—fat, but muscled like a bull.
Rock that looks like a Titan ripped off part of a mountain.
My sister collects pebbles from the beach, little stones polished by saltwater (
glittering in the risingnoonsetting sun, jewels from a mermaid’s broken necklace
) And brings them back home where she washes and sorts them, picking out her favorites.
My mother is ... she’s classically trained with higher tastes.
She doesn’t judge according to Chinese aesthetics, but honed artistic instincts.
Rocks of all faces are admired within their scenery, never collected or removed.
Some relatives took me to a museum once, when I was little:
row after / row after / row of rocks / and bonsai?
That’s all I remember. And extreme extreme boredom.
My father tried to build a rock garden.
I remember him planning, scoping sites on the yard.
My mother watched him from the kitchen window.
She never thought of stopping him or trying to move them; just planted around. (
Flowers from boulders, rosemary in gravel. Two gardens, two children.
) I am ... I’ve studied rocks, the different aspects.
My sister loves colorfulsemiprecious stones:
blue agate / yellow tiger eye / red jasper / green malachite / clear quartz / pink rhodonite / black hematite
Snowflake obsidian alongside beach pebbles.
When I left home, as a gift they gave—
Cactus roses, nestled between grey-brown rocks.