The Rock

By Gerald Green

A petite yellow butterfly air-danced above my head while I looked towards the intersection of Elysian Fields Drive and Golf Links Road. Speeding car tire sounds reverberated in my ear. Many drivers approaching didn’t slow to turn left on to Elysian Fields, but those who did saw a large flat oblong river rock with humps pointing skyward at both ends. “Sequoyah Highlands” engraved on its face, the rock serves as the gateway to my neighborhood. It stands about 6 feet tall on a large pedestal approximately 5 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet high, sitting on a small knoll where weeds have invaded intended floral patterns.

oakland voices green rockUnder clear blue skies I stood in a clearing near the rock, where I could see AC Transit bus stops on both sides of Golf Links that only serve students. I turned eastward and the rock’s water wash patterns began to consume my view, framed by three flagpole- thin leafless trees to the right and green Oak trees in the background. The air smelled fresh considering the amount of auto traffic.

The fact that the intersection is located away from freeways and above city smog was one of the reasons we decided to buy our home in this area. Light traffic greeted  me when I turned and looked northward up Elysian Fields’ hill. A pair of pale green curbside telephone service boxes stood approximately 25 feet from my position and I could partially see my neighbor Peg’s newly-constructed wooden mailbox further up the hill.   I felt a little uncomfortable with my back to the traffic on Elysian Fields, so I stepped over protective, decaying log barriers towards the rock.

When I turned westward I saw cars that barely slowed down  at the stop sign, before proceeding onto Golf Links−fortunately no accidents occurred; the westbound traffic yielded their right-a-way. Then a middle-aged lady wearing white pants that matched the color of her large poodle approached the intersection. They continued their poised stride across Golf Links and disappeared under a canopy of trees, walking towards a gated fire trail flanked on both sides by poison oak.

The distant rumble of a jet airliner contaminated the silence before I discovered ants crawling about my red tennis shoes. Mentally bitten by hordes of them, I jumped, because I don’t like ants. Goodbye rock.


Author Profile

Gerald Green is a 25-year cancer survivor. Green released his memoir Life Constricted: To Love, Hugs and Laughter in 2010, which chronicles his family’s saga and victories over his three bouts with cancer: tongue cancer in 1995, neck cancer in 1997 and prostate cancer in 2008. His chapter, Fatherhood Love, appeared in the second edition of Black Fathers an Invisible Presence in America published by Routledge in 2011. Green’s poetry has appeared in the Healing Journey, an on-line publication, and The Monthly, a premier magazine of culture and commerce, which published one of his essays. Green’s writings like his article Prostate Cancer’s Time Zone reflect the importance of early cancer detection and the healthy impact of a loving family. Green is a member of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) ECOG-ACRIN Head and Neck Cancer Committee and the Cancer Research Advocates Committee.

1 Comment

  1. What a lovely bit of writing! Thanks for sharing it with me. [I don’t think it was me (lady in white pants), though, because if I had seen you standing there, I’m sure I would have called out a “hello, Gerald!” greeting.]

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