The Sands of Time
by The Pirate
Despite being a pirate, I love rocks. Perhaps more so being away from them, months or weeks at a stretch. I know a little about them and the processes that create, destroy and remake them. I’m also surprised at how many people can walk around, oblivious to the earth and its rocks and not be curious; walk a beach and feel the sand beneath their feet and not stop to look at a grain, or two and wonder about the journey and history behind it.
You could pause and pick up one single grain of beach sand. You would find it to be clear-a tiny grain of quartz, insignificant and lost in a soft breath, or slight breeze, but it has a story that rivals all others told, in its majesty and scope. That grain at has at least a four and a half billion-years of changes and journeys, most likely all across and through our great planet.
If given an afternoon it might tell you of just its most recent years, traveling the continent. The journey from its lofty perch on the side of a mountain more massive and majestic than any ever gazed upon by human eyes. A journey of a hundred million years, or more from mountain to beach. Torn down by wind, rain, ice, or sunlight, and the crushing weight of time, immortal, long before life began here in the stagnant pools, evolving into blue-green algae, stromatalite beds that generated the first oxygen for our atmosphere. From rock face, to boulder and mountain streams that roared for the dinosaurs. Boulder to cobble in a rushing river, offering food and drink to mammals who took up the scepter from their cold-blooded predecessors. Cobble to stone tool, carried and treasured by humanoids that first stood up to watch the stars wheel across the sky. Lost and buried for eons, unearthed by flood, earthquake, volcano, or any number of natural processes that will still be at work long after you and I are but dust. Tool to trash, reduced to pebble in the slow grind of time that it takes man to find fire as a friend. Pebble to grain, dumped into the sea as a river’s flesh to it’s blood of water, to rise again as the beach beneath your feet as you walk along unaware of the story beneath you.
And most of those who walk the beach will always be unaware, but before you go, you might contemplate how it came to be on the mountain. Yes, even a grain of sand has a few stories in it.
Any Port in the Storm Archives
Very nice! I will never walk on the beach the same again...which is good!
Posted by: Bon | May 8, 2007 6:42 AM
Great job Pirate!
Rocks are the best, I grew up on one. They deserve more 'spect.
Posted by: Dan | May 8, 2007 7:26 AM
Great story. I'm a big fan of rocks too. I live in Vermont and one of my favorite things to do is go on roadtrips where we go on long stretches of road because the highways go through these huge, carved out mountains and from the passenger seat you can just gaze upon all the layers of rock that made up the mountain you are passing through.
although I've tried to point this beauty out to my drivers, but I usually only peak their interest when I say things like "That mountain looks like a big boob!"
Posted by: jo (from Amie) | May 8, 2007 1:01 PM
I have a really hard time NOT stopping at every roadcut I pass. There is a series of books called roadside geology that explain roadcut geology along nearly all major highways, state by state-wonderful books!
Posted by: pirate | May 10, 2007 11:17 AM