Today is my birthday. JB prepared a lucious meal (sunomono, coho salmon, potatoes, mushrooms– with plenty left over for lunch tomorrow), picked flowers from our garden and put them in a vase that was given to us by IB’s pottery teacher in Japan (and stacked it on top of a blue bowl for contrast), and purchased a chocolate ganache with raspberries for dessert (complete with lit candle).
And my gift— a Petoskey stone. Petoskey stone is fossilized coral which reveals hexagons of the once living coral when polished. These stones can only be found in Michigan, localized in Traverse Bay and Little Traverse Bay around Petoskey, Michigan. The stone is named after an Indian Ottawa chief, who when he was born was first seen with the rays of the sun on his face. Hence he was called Chief Pet-O-Sega, which means “rising sun” or “sunbeams of promise” or “rising sun.” The dark round center of the hexagon is described as the sun and the lines which extend from the central circle, are the rays.
We actually gave one of these stones to IB’s mentor in Kyoto, a well-known papermaker, who was incredibly pleased with this gift because of the meaning of its name (“rising sun”) and its possible practical use in polishing paper. JB thought I might use it as a bone folder in my own work as well.
But the best part of the Petoskey stone, especially in regard to birthdays, is that even though one may be turning 62 and feeling a growing sense of the passage of time and of one’s increasing vulnerabilities, the Petoskey stone is 350 million years old, putting one’s own birthday in total perspective. What better gift than that.