Rocks in her head


This week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills is talking about rocks; rock formations in the landscape and rocks in the middle of the road, literally and figuratively.

She talks about the mesas in Zion National Park near to where she is living in Utah.

She describes it as 250 million years old with sandstone cliffs reaching ¾ mile, or 1207 m, high.

Uluru © Norah Colvin

Uluru © Norah Colvin

Of course, I can’t think of large sandstone rocks without thinking of Australia’s Uluru/Ayers Rock, the world’s largest sandstone inselberg or “island mountain”, which I was lucky enough to visit a couple of years ago.

We’re not going into competition here, but Uluru is estimated to be about 600 million years old. Reaching (only) 348 metres high, it is not as high as Zion’s cliffs.  However, it goes deeper under the ground than above.

While indigenous peoples of Australia have lived near Uluru for at least 10 000 years, it was only “discovered” by European explorers in the mid-nineteenth century. They named it Ayers Rock after the then Chief Secretary of South Australia Sir Henry Ayers. Since 1993 it has borne the dual name Uluru/Ayers Rock.

I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for those first European explorers when they came across the enormous rock which reaches further below ground than it does above, though I guess they didn’t know that at the time. There are also many other hazards to negotiate in Central Australia.

With Charli’s challenge to write about a rock, I was tempted to innovate on Michael Rosen’s Going on a Bear Hunt.

“Oh-oh, a rock.

A big red rock.

Can’t go over it.

Can’t go under it.

Oh no! We’ve got to go around it.

Huff-puff. Huff-puff.”

But Charli moves on from the literal to the figurative as she describes challenges; the ones, unlike sand that is easy to sweep away; as “rocks in the road”, rocks that “cannot be ignored . . . (that) call us to change or be changed.”

Sometimes the rocks have been placed by someone or something else. Sometimes they are of own making. Sometimes they reside only in our heads. Often the rock’s size and our ability to move it depends on our attitude.

There is a rock in my path at the moment; small but, like a pebble in a shoe, bothersome. I have tried many alternatives but not yet found the solution. There is a popular saying that “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” I’m ready and waiting.

Sometimes I feel that my attempts are a bit like those Sisyphus moving his rock, but without the physical effort. Sometimes I just think I’ve got rocks in my head. Most people don’t understand why I bother; but how can I not?

Edison said,

“I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10 000 ways that won’t work.”

I don’t think I’m quite to 10 000 yet, but the number is growing.

As Charli says, those rocks call us to change; they give us an opportunity for new learning. I’m never against learning something new. I’ve combined these ideas in my story.

But before I take you there, I want to tell you about Charli. She has been squeezed between a rock and a hard place since she was kicked out of her beautiful home over six months ago. You can only admire her tenacity in remaining positive. With all the rocks that have been pelted at her, she still takes up the broom to sweep away the rocks that fall in others’ paths. Please check out her post and read of the J-Family, who have finally found a home after months of homelessness. Charli is hosting a Amazon Housewarming party to help them acquire basic household items. The seven-year old boy would also love some books to read.  If you can help, please visit Charli’s post for details.

Now, back to my response to Charli’s challenge to “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a rock in the road. It can be physical, adding to a plot twist, or it can be metaphorical for a barrier or hardship. Go where you find the rock.” I hope you like it.

Rocks in her head

The newcomer was intrigued. Every morning she’d be there, filling a battered barrow with rocks from the road. You’d think that, after a day or two, she’d have removed them all. But, every morning, even earlier, a quarry truck would rumble by, spilling more.

Longer-term residents shrugged indifferently, “She’s got rocks in her head.”

When he asked her one day, she replied, “Come and see.”

He followed into her back garden, and watched. She stood at the edge of a pit and threw in the rocks. After each she listened, hopeful of a sound, of one day filling it.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.


27 thoughts on “Rocks in her head

  1. Bec Colvin

    Hi Nor, I love your FF, and how it shows that sometimes just asking people – who might seem like they are a bit weird! – gives you insight into their motivations, which can make us all seem a lot more like each other. I like your character’s persistence in collecting the rocks. I hope you will be able to remove your pebble from your shoe before too long! And all the best to Charli with her efforts in supporting others during her own challenging times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Bec. I’m pleased you enjoyed the flash. I’m sure we are all more alike than different, though there are times, and with some, we may not like to admit it. Charli is a tower of strength, a lighthouse in the dark.


  2. Sarah Brentyn

    Oh, my youngest was obsessed with Ayers Rock for a bit. I must say, I’d love to see it.

    I’m very sorry to hear you have a rock in your path (or pebble in your shoe). I love this: “‘When the student is ready, the teacher appears.’ I’m ready and waiting.” I’m waiting, too, Norah. Waiting… And I feel a bit like Sisyphus myself. Love the flash. Perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Rock in the Road « Carrot Ranch Communications

  4. Charli Mills

    You shared a rock, and what a rock Uluru is! It is indeed millions years older than Zion’s sandstones, and it will likely outlive them, too! The reason is Uluru’s incredible lack of scree. Scree is that debris that sometimes reminds me of baggy drawers around the mountains’ ankles. It creates a cycle of erosion that will one day eat its own rocks. Yet, Uluru has no scree thus no erosion points. I didn’t know the word “inselberg” before learning that term here. I love rocks and would love to see your one day!

    Your flash reminds me of the projects we work on in private. As a writer, I read into the tale a woman gathering what life scatters before he and she fills that pit of a book, hoping one day it’ll be complete. Taken literal, I had anticipated she built something. And then that made me realize why we creators struggle — no one sees our dailywork compared to someone whose job is more visible in its daily accomplishments. Thank you for your kind words. I have good friends who believe in my pit as I do yours. The right moment will come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for adding to my understanding of Uluru and its lack of scree. I love that description “baggy drawers around the mountains’ ankles”.
      Thank you for the interpretation of my flash too. We can keep adding and adding but what we add makes no impression. I’m looking forward to many chink-chinks for each of us! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Annecdotist

    Ha, Norah, Uluru is one mighty and ancient rock in the road, but sorry about the pebble in your shoe and hope the answer presents itself soon. I really liked your flash: I could empathise with her annoyance at the gravel trucks messing up the road outside her house, and couldn’t make up my mind (in a good way) whether filling the hole was a sensible project or she was deluded.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Anne. Your comment made me smile. I wonder the same thing about her!! I’m tempted to do explanatory notes (or CliffsNotes) for this flash. I thought a lot more into it than I probably wrote. The opposite of what is often read into the writing of others – e.g. the poems we had to analyse at school and read much more into them than was probably intended. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. TanGental

    ah yes, Uluru; extraordinary when you see it in the flesh. Not to be forgotten and neither is your intriguing and thoughtful flash – will we every fill every void? Some just gape, don’t they? Hope you get that grit out of your shoe soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your warm comment, Geoff. I think some of those voids are the ones we dig ourselves, which is what I was trying to indicate in the flash with the pit in the back yard. I think the grit is starting to move. I hope so! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  7. lucciagray

    There’s a Spanish saying that goes something like this: hope is the last thing we lose. I agree, hope keeps us going, even if we’re picking rocks. When someobe stops believing they can achieve their goal must be a dreadful moment. Better to carry on like the girl in your flash. Great flash. Depressing yet hopeful.💖

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for sharing that Spanish saying, Luccia. It would be very depressing to lose hope. I guess believing, no matter how impossible the task appears, must help us carry on, and (hopefully) overcome the difficulties. I’m pleased you enjoyed the flash.

      Liked by 2 people


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