on

A little girl sits in front of a pail filled with reddish colored clay.  Staring at the clay, she notices the circular door-less room, with nothing more than a hole in its ceiling allowing in light.

As she looks down towards her body, she notices her hands.  They seem alien, pudgy, and confusing.  Lifting them towards her face, she realizes they are smeared with the same dried red clay from the pail.  Pondering her situation, she notices her nose.  First, its oblong curves as it hides just beyond her focus.  Then, by its purpose as she smells the damp earthy clay before her.

Within this moment of discovery the girl hears a voice.

“So, which did you choose?” the voice asks.

“I don’t understand?” she replies, looking up towards the ceiling.

“Are you going to stay, or are you going to go?” the voice continues.

Just then, the girl looks down and notices something has changed.  Where there was once a singular pail, there are now two.  One, still filled with clay, the other, empty.  While continuing to inspect the two pails a vision flashes before her eyes.  She sees a person waking up, making coffee, then beginning their day.  Next, she sees two people sitting on a white porch-swing in the mid-summer sun.  Then, a person having children and watching them grow. Finally, a sense of accomplishment flows over her as she realizes the impact, although small, in which her life had upon the world.

With these visions and thoughts clear in her mind, she asks the voice a question.

“If I go, do I get to keep these memories?”

“No.” the voice answers.  “If you go, the empty pail will remain for those who loved you as they continue to experience and reflect upon your legacy.  They will continue to fill the pail until it is their time to make the same choice before you.”

“And if I stay?  What will happen then?” she asks.

“If you stay, those who loved you will be reminded only of your death as you hold their precious memories hostage.”

The girl ponders the voice’s answer and continues to have more visions of her life.  She now remembers her family, spouse, daughters, and friends.  She feels emotions rise as the thought of leaving everything behind causes more resistance.  But, if she moves on, then those memories will remain cherished for all who remembered and loved her.

“So,” the voice continues. “have you made your choice?”

As she looks at her hands, she notices the dried clay once more.  She then looks over at the pail with clay and sees it has finger-sized trenches carved throughout it.  But the clay drawn from the pail is missing.  She then looks back and her tiny fingers and begins to laugh.

“What’s so funny?” the voice asks.

“The choice has already been made,” the little girl says looking back towards the ceiling. “but you already know that don’t you?”

“And what makes you think that?” the voice responds.

“Because if I’m here now, sitting before a pail of clay as a little girl, then that means I am no longer a man.  And, if I am no longer a man, then that means I have already made my choice.”

Just then the light in the ceiling begins to disappear as the little girl starts to hear new voices.  Her environment changes and is now filled with warmth and comfort as she lays bear within its center.  While the darkness gives itself to the light, the first thing she sees are those same pudgy little hands covered in red.  With her first breath, she leaves behind her memories so those she loved may cherish them.

And with her next breath, she begins a new journey carved from the same clay of her past.

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11 Comments
  1. Bill

    Adam,
    such a beautiful and timely story for me. Thank you!
    So reminds me as well , of the time I fell through the skylight opening and went on a little journey inside that moment. Often feels as if I’m living another life inside a larger life.

    • Adam King

      Thank you Bill and thanks for sharing your fall. 😉

      This story was the most pleasurable one I’ve written in a long time. And, the most challenging.

      There is no religion here, no spirituality, but all of that in one. A contradiction, a promise, and a few profound lessons. But most importantly, it delivers on the choice within the story.

      A good memory. Thanks for sharing that with me.

    • Angela

      It is an encouragement to me to continue exploring the things of the non-physical realm when I read of fond and wonderful experiences you have had. I hope someday that my mind and emotions are brave and open enough to allow even a few of the experiences and understandings that you have shared. Thank you for your inspiration!

  2. Vass

    Adam once again and as always divine story beautiful love the twist in it . Had me experiance shivers , but in a good way thank you . Happy blessed month ahead
    Love and light

    • Adam King

      That’s wonderful to know Vass. Like I said, I enjoyed writing this one as challenging as it was to “get right”.

      Thank you for the blessings for the month as well. I am soooo looking forward to all its got to offer. 🙂

  3. Joy Truscott

    That is it! Exactly!
    Thank you Adam.

  4. Monika

    I so love this story, thank you Adam. I like the idea as I do love playing with clay and forming new things out of it but I haven’t done it for quite a while. I still have some left somewhere hidden in a box.

    • Adam King

      That’s so cool Monika! I remember my grandmother was friends with this guy (Walter, he was 80 at the time) that lived in her community. I stayed at his condo one night and he had all these clay sculptures that I thought were just wonderful. They weren’t professional by any means (in fact some were just silly) but they were magical to me.

      Never stop working with your hands! 🙂

  5. Angela

    Settling down from the rush of a hurried yet wonderful evening, I am stopped up short as the very first sentence of this story captured me completely! My heart and soul seem to take in every single word like individual treasures, one word at a time. At the same time my mind struggles to participate in the conversation by forming bits of vision of the story in my imagination that are difficult to hold concretely. Although it feels abstract to my mind, my body is deeply effected by this one as I am shaking like a leaf. No sense of emotion that I can identify. What a peculiar reaction to such an incredible writing. It would seem there is much within the words that my ears and mind cannot yet hear. I will read this again and see what unfolds and watch and listen for clues in what lies before me in the coming days.

    wow… just….wow!

  6. Angela

    now… tears… how deeply this story is written.. what a beautiful gift!

    • Adam King

      I’m so glad it moved you Angela. I never know how they are going to affect anyone, I just write them. It’s like opening a treasure reading your comments and reflections.

      That makes it all worth while.

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