18 July 2014 at 07:46


The dawning of each day presents me with the joy of uncertainty; the beauty of indifference; the happiness of happenstance; and the possibility that I may do things I’ve never done before. (And, with the grace of God, may never do again.) A one-time-only existence is a blueprint for the death of boredom. And today I did such a one-time thing:In a walkabout I came across a builder of memorials. I stopped short and stood transfixed: I’m a sucker for stone, and the granite slabs out front of the building made my mouth water. It’s the sculptor in me. And though I haven’t done a stone sculpture in almost twenty years, I continue to collect suitable pieces whenever I find them. Stone carving is my desert island activity, and I don’t mean to be caught short. So I entered this storehouse of stone.“I’d like to buy a cube of granite space,” I said to the sober-looking man inside.“A cube of granite space?” he said.

“Yes, please. Well, a cube. You know, six equal faces, twelve boundary lines. In granite.”

“How big? Is this to be a headstone?”

“Well, sort of; but, not exactly. How much does a cubic foot weigh?”

“About 200 pounds,” he said.

“Well, it doesn’t have to be that big,” I said. “It just has to be a perfect cube. It has to fit into this space, you see.”

“What space?”

“The space around it. And we’ll have to pull cores out of the block so the space can get in. And the holes will have to be at right angles to one another. Three cored holes, joining the opposing faces of the block. And we’ll have to cut a section out of the first core piece, where it meets the others at the centre of the block, so that when we slide the core sections back in, the interior centre will be a perfect sphere of air. Into which we can put something. Will you be able to do that for me?”

“Well, we’ll have to speak to the cutters, but yes, I think we can do that at our shop,” he said.

I left the building and headed home, happy to have taken care of this business. While walking, I made some calculations: six faces of the cube and its interior centre are assigned to the seven double letters of the alphabet; the three interior coordinates correspond to the three mother letters; and the twelve boundary lines represent the twelve simple letters. Perfect, all twenty-two letters of the alphabet. God’s alphabet. And in the sphere of air at the centre of the stone: a place for my ashes. There: now that’s something you only have to do once.


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