It is stones smoothed by the sea, erratics resting from their wandering, rocks turning up in the garden, the pebble you picked for your pocket that invite you to enter the full deep of earth.
The earth lays out its history beyond words in bits broken from its own body: an origin in liquid rock exploding through our startlingly thin surface; their travels as continents ripped at the seams and opened up an ocean between; the tumble and meeting where rocks grow into each other.
The pebble in your palm is eternity taking form in granite, schist, and shale. If you throw it back into the river, you throw away an eternity. But, do not worry, it cannot be destroyed.
Photo by John Laux. Taken in Glacier National Park.
Learn More: This piece is inspired by reading geologist Marcia Bjornerud’s Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth (Westview Press, 2005). She is the Rachel Carson of rocks. Science is her grounding and her language is wonderful. Her alliteration will help you remember the different types of rocks: igneous are formed from the incandescent molten state; sedimentary is deposited at the Earth’s surface to be ground down or eroded; metamorphic are modified in the solid state by heat, pressure, deformation, or some combination of these.
- What is my relationship with rocks? When do I pay attention to rocks?
- What happens when you think about / try to imagine what lies below the surface of the earth?
- What do people do with rocks in the area of the country where you live?
- What is your relationship to time?
Nature Awareness: Take a walk and collect pebbles. Pay attention to how your experience of walking and being out in nature is changed (or not) by walking in this way.
- Read a book like Reading the Rocks, but in a contemplative way rather than looking for information. You might practice Lectio Divina.
- Contemplate a pebble or rock, imagine that it has a message for you, that it is a text like a book that you can read. Be open to whatever comes.
- Try to imagine time told by rocks rather than our 24 hours day. What new awareness arises? What happens inside you?