Students Moving Rocks
The myth of Sisyphus, made more famous in the story by the philosopher Camus, tells of a mythical figure who pushes a boulder or rock up a hill, gets near the top, and finds it rolling back the hill. And he must start pushing it up again. Camus intended the story as a metaphor for the human experience, our existential status. We roll boulders up hills, get near the tops, and only find the boulders roll back down and we must stop again. It seems a story of frustration and failure, but, in fact, is a story of human courage to keep on in spite of the odds.
The students in this picture were rolling large rocks into a meditation garden near the campus where I taught. They saw the garden as a symbol of hope in a very crime ridden city. They planted trees and flowers which were soon torn out during the night. And they replanted them. They put in benches, which soon were pushed into the nearby river. They wanted to outfox the destructive antics of others, so a student’s father provided boulders from his quarry and one day they spent an hour rolling the boulders into place. They are still there.
I think of this symbolic action often when I need hope and courage. I know each of us is Sisyphus. We keep on even when it appears we need to start all over again. We keep on when it would be much easier giving up.