I will tell you the truth as I remember it.
Ellen was returning from the north beach one morning at dawn as I approached Point Wilson Lighthouse. In the year and a half I’d known her, we’d met many times near here—she a dedicated runner and me seeking in the waves a few moments of quiet during the Goddard residencies. Most mornings she smiled but we didn’t talk so as not to break my reverie or her stride. I was always glad to see her out there—a kindred spirit.
That morning—were we on the large rocks where the Sound becomes the Strait or on the curved stretch where Whidbey blends with the rest of the San Juans?—she stopped and placed something cool and smooth against my palm. She said to me, “This is your novel—a golden egg.” I opened my fingers to see an ovoid golden stone. It must have been her last residency or graduation. I would have been a G3 or G4—full of a book that hadn’t yet found its form.
I thanked her and slipped the stone into my purse. During the remaining days of the residency, my fingers brushed against that stone and one day I even sat atop the bunkers cupping it and feeling the faith it took to call my novel a golden egg.
Throughout the semester I carried that stone in my purse as I gestated my novel and in the days, after I graduated it sat on my desk while I revised. Once the book was hatched, the stone’s presence on my desk reminded me that someone else believed in my work.
I don’t know whether Ellen had ever been given a similar stone or how many others she had given, but I continued her tradition. I have many friends who are writers and I believe in each of their work in an individual way, but I have only given two golden eggs. I meant to give another this weekend, but it slipped my mind in all the graduation excitement. I will never know what became of the rocks themselves, but I hope the gift of faith that accompanied them lives on.
The golden egg is a simple stone, but it reminds me of how simple the most meaningful gifts we can give each other are. Take a moment today to pass on a golden egg, even if it’s virtual, to someone you believe in. You have no idea how long it could sustain someone.
These days I carry in my purse a piece of pink quartz I picked out for myself for a new project, but my heart is filled with the faith of my friends.