In California, jade is the daughter of the sea, washing onto the beach from vast offshore deposits. Each pebble bears the family resemblance, being green like the Pacific, with lines of foam-white running through it, like the spume of long breaking waves seen from above.

In California, jade is the daughter of the mountains, mined and polished, carven by a thousand artists. There, too, is the family resemblance, the stone forest-green like the wooded slopes, brushed with fog-white, like mist rising from the river valley in the morning.

In California, jade is the mother of memory. It is made into earrings, seen in Chinatown at a price beyond the poverty of youth, bought anyway and given out of love, still worn decades later, never regretted. It nestles in silver in a ring, chosen above diamonds to mark an engagement, becoming a plaything for the fat-fingered child ten years later. And the family resemblance carries on in loves as durable as stone, lives as rich as the deep, deep green of the jade that we treasure.

For my mother.