Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Joys of Collecting Rocks - Connections


I love the variety, and the beauty, but the connections I associate with the rocks I collect add meaning both to the rocks and to my life. I treasure a piece of flint from Stonehenge and copper ore specimens I lugged home from Whitehorse. Each rock has a connection to a place or a person or a story. The ancient creatures from the sea floor now on top of the mountains, plant leaves from the age of dinosaurs, river rocks set in lava. I can look at a rock and see, read, a story. How these water-rounded granite pebbles must have sizzled when the green andesite lava engulfed them. How cataclysmic the explosion must have been before these sharp-edged quartz clasts were shattered and then sopped up by the lava flowing over, surrounding them. I think I am most attracted to the igneous rocks -- offspring of the dance of earth and fire. It's something about being an earth lover with a fire sign.

The stories the rocks themselves tell are of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic activity Millennia Before Man. They seem to put an often too-proud and too self-centred humanity into perspective. Small in relation to the planet, the solar system, the universe. Mewling within imagined Time.

I love how my rocks connect me to places and people of my own past and present. Another part of what I love about rocks is the sensory experience they offer. You can see the colour and sparkle. You can hear how each one sounds different, depending on what you strike it with, a chopstick, a knife. You can feel the varied textures and the differences in weight, the heaviness of a hunk of galena, the floating weightlessness of a bomb of pumice. You can even taste some rocks. Salt. Potash. But please, do not lick it after it has been passed from student to student around the whole classroom.

These things are real. Not made by man. Not manufactured steel or tin or plastic. Natural. When I have to pass them on, when I have to move from my house, I shall take their photographs with me, as a way to keep, to maintain those connections.

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