7-year-old me watched in awe as dad skipped a stone right across the width of the river.
I reach down and grab a course, oddly shaped rock, with bumps and ridges all over. My weak little arms toss it into the river and immediately it hits the surface with a plop and sinks to the bottom.
"Mate, you need to find one that is smooth, round and flat."
Dad bent down and picked up a rock of his description from the riverbank.
"Here, like this one"
He handed me the smooth, round, flat rock.
"You gotta throw it low, and flick your wrist." He imitated what he had done to show me what he meant.
I furrow my eyebrows, scrunch up my forehead and let my tongue slip out of the corner of my mouth, concentrating intensely on the rock, the river, dad's words. I flick my wrist with all my strength and watch hopefully. My rock spins, then hits the water on an angle which sends it back into the air for a split second before dipping and diving underneath the surface.
"Hey dude, that was good. Keep trying, and you'll get there eventually."
I kept trying, again and again, getting frustrated that I couldn't get that 7 skips that my dad had so effortlessly achieved. There was something he was doing that I couldn't achieve or even work out what it was he was doing. He threw the rocks exactly the same as me, and yet he threw it completely different to me.
Many, many camping trips and rivers later, I was walking along a pebbled beach with Jonah, the deepest of deep, clearest of clear water lapping up and down the beach. We had just been in a spectacular underground lake cave and we were walking back to our boat in which we had been sailing around the Ionic islands for the last couple of days. We saw a little river a small distance.
Earlier on in the day, we had met a couple from New Zealand who had been sailing all around the Mediterranean for the last year.
"I'd want to do that for a while, sometime in my life." I thought aloud.
"What, cruise around on a boat for a few years?"
"Yeah, but hopefully I'd get paid to do it, like taking photos of marine animals for NatGeo or Canon or something."
"That would be pretty cool."
We reached the river. Jonah picked up a rock and skipped it across the shallow water, 3 long glides before it crosses the full width of the tiny river.
"Skipping stones is just such a simple pleasure, you know? It's so satisfying and calming."
I picked up a stone below me. I let all thoughts escape me. Instead of furrowed eyebrows and a frustrated tongue, I just breathed. I focused on the moment, instead of getting the stone to skip. I realised that all I really had to do was relax.
I almost carelessly tossed the stone along the length of the river, and watched in a state of of calmness yet excitement, if that is even possible.