A Stone’s Throw

A Stone’s Throw

For years Judy and I talked about replacing our front steps. The wood had become uneven so the steps rock a little as you walk up or down, and the metal railing no longer fit with our taste, they came with the house forty years ago. It was time to replace the steps. We drove around town and looked at what other people had done with their entries, then picked out a design that fits our house. In a flurry of Joe-Homeowner activity, I knocked them apart and piled up the pieces before having Trevor come over to install the new steps. In the process, I realized that the sidewalk under the old steps didn’t match the footprint of the new steps, so I’d have to take out the old concrete, too. It’s not that big a deal, just break up the concrete and add it to the construction debris. This was the right thing to do, as new footings would give us a more stable entry.

The size of the footing underneath that small square of sidewalk surprised me. It required a bit more digging than expected. Clearly, it was the wrong shape for our new front step, so I kept on digging. That’s when I discovered that the footings were far larger than my wildest imagination allowed. A concrete wall extended back under the porch, and both ways along the front of the porch.

I kept digging around all this extra concrete. Looking up, I realized that the entire front porch was made of stone, too. Beautiful sandstone. What I thought were footings for the steps really turned out to be a long, curving wall, heading east towards the driveway. It was several feet high and well done. The stone extended up the front of the house, three stories high, with dramatic decorations all along the roof line.

Decorations included carved stone gargoyles, pineapples, and thistles. Everything was lifelike, as much as weathered stone could be lifelike. Then I noticed large stone vases on each corner of the house, framing winding exterior staircases leading somewhere.

I’ve been digging for some time now, trying to get those blasted footings out so I could start the new steps. Could I just take a short rest? I sat down on a stone chair I had found buried in the front yard, beside the footings, and sat quietly for a moment. The gargoyles didn’t like me sitting down. No sir, they didn’t.

They expressed displeasure in the best way a stone gargoyle could. No, not rainwater. They started with taunts and quickly launched into throwing stones. Not big stones, small ones, big enough to hurt. I tried vainly to hide behind the walls.

I looked up, trying to figure who was throwing the stones. (Gargoyle can’t throw things, right?) The sky had turned dark. Had I been working that long? Was it night-time already? I could see stars in the sky over the house. The gargoyles have stopped throwing stones, but now more stones are coming from somewhere in the sky. I can see larger stones throwing smaller stones at me. There’s something strange about those stones in the sky, starry stones. Each large stone hovering in the sky has little stars on it.

A dozen or so starry lights adorn each of three larger objects, the lights are arranged in an X pattern, each leg five or six lights long. Well, not exactly an X, more like a circle of lights. The lights are not a point, they are rectangular. Maybe they’re shaped in a circle of curved rectangles, turning, rotating. Maybe they sparkle with a little color?

What I thought were stones in the sky are really saucer-shaped things. Each saucer moved slowly to the east, hurling stones my way as they descended towards me. The stones they throw are large, far larger than what the gargoyles threw, and they leave a trail of dust or dull smoke. Each one thumps on the ground close to me.

Thump.

Thump.

The stone walls of the house have grown while I watched the sky. Though the gargoyles are no longer throwing stones at me, some have jumped down to the ground, picking up the stones hurled from the flying saucers. They threaten me with their new-found stones.

One thought enters my mind. “So, this is how children dream.”

I didn’t go back to sleep for a long time.

Grandpa Guy Havelick