11/ Worry Stone

A couple of weeks ago, walking on the beach, enjoying the undoubted benefits of the salty air and de-stressing rhythm of the surf, I picked up a pebble. It was flatish and viewed from one angle had the rough shape of a heart.  But what caught my attention in particular was the hole passing through its centre.  A pierced heart of stone.

Some days later, coincidentally at the back of a New Scientist magazine I came across The hole story.  This mighty feat of chewing through solid rock is achieved by a tiny creature that has been given the insulting, schoolyard nickname of a piddock.

-       Oy! Piddock!

This miniscule and resolute bivalve mollusc burrows its way forward making a tunnel that widens progressively as it grows.  It has no reverse,  nor any intention of turning back, as far as can be judged.  In any case its egress would be possible only as a result of the surging and receding waves, the swirling  action of the currents, shearing off the weakened chunk of rock in which it thrives.

Glimpsing something of its history has added to this pebble’s appeal for me.  At first I was attracted by the cool and comforting contours of sea-smoothed limestone. The puzzling imperfection of its central hole. A worry bead to fit snugly in my fist. But now, too, I admire the simple, unwavering, determination of the life form that produced it.  The certainty of its purpose. 

Immunity to stress.

© Benóg Brady Bates


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