The Pillar

The pillar stood before me, a great tower of imposing granite, standing alone in a desert of rock. Its sides were rippled and textured as if some sculptor had spent his entire lifetime with a hammer and chisel in hand carving away at its entire surface. It stood over twenty times my height and was perhaps ten feet in diameter. The Devil's breath blew out of the south sweeping away small bits of sand and rock. The sun beat down with all its ferocity upon the great white rock, but I stood protected in its shadow. I had to wonder if it was there for some strange purpose since it bore no siblings anywhere nearby. I wished that I could somehow scale its height and stand alone on the peak looking down at the rocks below. How old was this rock, I wondered. No doubt it had been there before the white-man had ever come to stand beneath it. Perhaps it had even been there before the red-man had come. Billions of men had died and been born while the rock stood impassively. Men fought and murdered each other in great wars, as the pillar stood. Science was born while the rock stood. While the rock stood, our cities sprouted and grew to fruition. While the rock stood, the black-man was freed from white servitude. The superpowers were born as the rock stood. The great Asian empire dissolved while the rock stood. Even as the Berlin wall fell, still the rock stood. And now, I stare at this rock in wonder. Though I may be uncertain about my own future, or the future of my race, here in this forsaken place, I am certain the rock shall stand, even as I fall.

George Chadderdon © 1991