Summer was always the best time for collecting. Rain rushed down street gutters carrying them along and depositing them in little piles every few houses. When the water dried up and vanished down the drain, there was good sorting to be had and gems to find. The summer I really started collecting I was maybe six or seven. I went out in the evening, right before darkness stole the day’s heat and crouched down on the side of the road. Behind me on the sidewalk sat a lime green plastic box I had come across in the sewing supplies my grandma had given my mum from garage sales. The box had grooves made to look like wood grains and a golden latch, but no lock. It waited, lid open, while my eyes scoured the piles, searching for clear ones, milky ones, shiny ones, slightly colored ones. Anything but dull grey. Dust sprayed onto the piles from passing cars collected on my fingers, the particles settling deep into the narrow lines of my fingerprints. Little by little I brushed away layers of the pile, picking out the keepers and dropping them one by one into the box for washing. They rattled around in the box, for they were so small and the box far too large to hold those little gutter gems. When night settled, I took the box inside and filled it with water in the bathroom sink until the water ran clear and the dust swirled down the drain in muddy tornadoes. Once clean, I picked them up and let them slide between my fingers, cool and smooth, before they plunked against the plastic bottom. I loved the shades of almost grey and white in the bottom of that lime green treasure chest. My eyes memorized their perfection. The perfection of pebbles.