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A Rolling Stone

Coming in the door with groceries this evening, my daughter and I were greeted by our usual loyal canine fanbase and of course, the rest of the family.  Rain and then snow had pummeled Ithaca all day. Flooding streets gave way to scraped roadway for us as we had headed up to the rural house we share with more deer than neighbors.  One cup of coffee later, I sat on the sofa and for the first time Wednesday contemplated a moment of peace. Then I saw it -- a setting that just screamed empty. No sparkle. No reflective reminder of that something special. The diamond stone, not large, just an half-carat, was gone. The four prongs that once held the stone were twisted and gaunt, as if the ring had gone on a sudden carbon-free diet.

There was that moment of shock of course that happens when what you are least expecting to see is what you see. I felt the tears well up inside as if I were riding an elevator and the door had opened at the floor called ghastly realization. We had stopped at the store. Had I lost it there? Was that shiny bit lying at the bottom of the tomato crate or by cartons of vanilla ice cream? I cascaded on the memory roller coaster as I agonized back through all the awkward hand-disturbing moments of this day. If not the store, where at school? Could I have snagged the ring during class? Three classes. One at 9 a.m., one at 11 a.m., and one at 2 p.m. No lunch space to consider, thank goodness. I generally don't have time for lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays.  If I had eaten, I would be mentally taking that retrace my steps journey up to the cafeteria and back again. The last time I made that trip, I enjoyed the longest rainbow I had seen in a year. That was a glorious memory. A rainbow over Cayuga Lake. Maybe I should have gone to lunch today. The sunlight, what there was of it, between the gusts of rain and curtain of snow, would have shown me sooner the bottomless pit of ring setting that hovered on my hand. There would have been time to run back to every classroom and hunt down in my Sherlockian wisdom, that which I had lost.

Handing off the car to my husband who heads to work when I come home, now there was no way to panic drive back to school to in real time, flashlight in hand, and find my diamond. My children said, "Mom, it's OK. Dad will replace it."

How do you explain to faces so optimistic and so encouraging in their efforts to make you feel better,  that a certain amount of grieving is the way I deal with crisis. In my heart, I know they are right. Rational. The rock was just seeking out its natural habitat. It wanted to go home. Underground.

And frankly with the spate of painful, heartwrenching news this week in Central New York, maybe this is the wakeup call of December that my missing diamond is just a gentle rock falling in the current of so many others' tear-charged tidal waves.

Tomorrow I will head back to school and I know compulsively will look for this tiny truant. Finding it, I will celebrate like the father of the prodigal son. Not finding it, I have other diamonds, living ones that shine every day around me and I will be more than satisfied with those.