Journal prompt: Name a totally useless possession and how you came to acquire it.

On my desk at home rests a shard of rust-red rock. It’s not large, perhaps 20 centimeters in length, flatly concave on the side that faces me, with the far side being a larger bulge. It rests flat on my desk as a reminder of carefree times back when I was a sophomore at university.

I was going to University of Oregon at the time, working for the American English Institute as an English tutor. Basically, I had conversations with foreign students to help them with English conversation skills. It was a great way to get exposure to other cultures while still remaining comfortable.

We went to Smith Rock Park in Central Oregon as a day trip a weekend in the summer of 2004. I was ill with ulcerative colitis at the time, so I opted to stay behind with the bus, while my students hiked along the rocky trail. When they returned a few hours later, my students brought me a gift: the shard of orange stone that sits on my desk to this day, nearly a decade later. It is good to remember the carefree days of younger years through the filter of mirky memory. It makes me wonder at what I will remember in years to come.