Friday, November 27, 2015

Old rock, "new" rock

My apologies for the lack of posts.  I’ve been harboring a cold and have done little except wrap myself in a blanket and drink gallons of hot tea.  I am over the worst of it now and so am beginning to venture out again, if not venturing very far just yet. 
 An advantage of not being able to venture too far is that I am looking more closely again at the forest around my cabin.  Today, the boulders that line the lane and my own front forest caught my attention.  In summer the rocks are nearly hidden by annual growth, and it’s only in the leafless seasons that I can see them well.
The weathered and cracked boulders are the most typical of the rocks here.  These are desk-sized rocks that have been exposed to the elements for who knows how many years.  Exposure to ice and rain are doing their best to break them into the smaller rocks that are even more numerous all around on the forest floor.  These little rocks were former boulders, still working their way down in size into ever smaller rocks. The boulders are home to moss and lichens, too.  Sometimes a small fern, usually a Christmas fern, manages to find enough of a foothold to grow in one of the cracks.
And then I have what I call the “new” rocks.  They are not new in the sense of overall age. Likely, they are as old as any of the other rocks around the mountain.  But they are newly exposed to the elements and so are not yet cracked and worn or split into small pieces. 
These rocks were exposed less than 50 years ago, when the lane up the mountain was first built.  My lane is not the first road up the mountain, and it may have even been created from an older, narrower road that ended at a sadly gone log cabin. (I was fortunate enough to see that abandoned cabin in the first years I lived here, before it was damaged by a large tree and then vandalized by late night partyers.) Today, these newly exposed rocks line the lane.  They are smooth and bright, usually square-ish.  Weather has not yet taken its toll on them and won’t for who knows how many more years.  But now that they are exposed to sunlight and rain, that slow destruction will begin.  None of us will see that, of course, and perhaps humans won’t even be around the earth anymore when that happens.  But it will happen.  Time is patient.

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