Sunday, November 14, 2010

Written in Stone

There is something about stone.  Solid, like it will last forever.  Maybe that's why we use it to mark the passing of the ephemeral- like people.

 The white limestone glistens in the sun like snow; it has its own beauty, apart from what is carved on it.

Yet even stone will weather, and break, and eventually wear away.  This slab of stone, which has borne the winds and rain so long that any carving is no longer visible, is at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia.  Built in 1741, it was here that Patrick Henry said, "Give me liberty, or give me death!"

 Even the hardest granite is made smooth and round by the constant  pressure of water in the James River.

The passage of time has marked them, as surely as the carving of names and dates marks the passage of humankind.  The time is counted in infinitely longer spaces, and the marks are of a different kind.

These beautiful formations of iron pyrite (fool's gold) are a mystery; no one knows even if they were living creatures, or some type of crystalline structure.  The message remains undeciphered.

These rocks appear to have markings on them.  If this were a sentence, what would it say?

For me, their message may lie in the association with a memory.  These stones were gathered on trips to the Great Smokey Mountains.

 Like this sandstone from Lewis County, Kentucky, stones tell us stories of a past where humans would not yet exist for hundreds of millions of years.  The earth keeps records from which we can learn.

Precambrian stromatolites are fossils of ancient colonies of algae, which grew in layers, forming the beautiful striations seen here.

 What ancient tree was this, before it was replaced with minerals and became petrified wood?

        Detail showing crystals in the center. 

   Fossilized redwood at Yellowstone.

I've been fascinated with rocks forever, and have collected them since I was a child.  This is how my house is decorated, with rocks on the buffet (above), on the mantel, the end tables- everywhere.

 A nice rock at Glacier National Park- I would have brought it home, except it's the size of a small house.

 A geode full of amethyst crystals.  

   Shale formation, Lewis County, Kentucky.

 And speaking of rocks...
 Glacier National Park


  1. Great post. Love the fossils on your mantel and the markings on the pyrite. So like my Seed Stone Drawings. My Dad also loves and collects (or collected) rocks and minerals. When my folks moved recently to Florida, he passed on his collection to me. It includes a large piece of petrified wood. Amazing.....

  2. Rocks are cool. Thanks for this great tribute to them. I've always loved taking walks through old cemeteries where I can check out the old weathered limestone, sandstone, marble and granite. Those stones have so much more to tell than just the life they memorialize.


  3. this is so a good serie, I like especiually the last one

  4. I love stone. Stone stands silently observing time as it moves onward. Your photography and accompaning words made for a very lovely post.

  5. wonderful post Sharmon, and it is so interesting that though we think of rock as being so solid, water can wear it down.... xx's

  6. gorgeous stones!!! I too am drawn to their mystery Sharmon....I loved the "sentence" of stones you arranged!

  7. Yes i also love rocks and stones and tombs a lot. Great series pf photographs. Just wonderful!

  8. You rock! Seriously what great photos and writing. I live with an academic rock hound- and I myself am a self proclaimed collector of smooth round rocks. I would have liked to see you figure out a way to bring home the rock from Glacier National Park.

  9. What a fun, interesting post.

    I love rocks, too. In fact, on a recent trip to the TX hill country, I had to mail a box of my clothes home so I could carry my rocks on the plane. True story.

  10. Okay, I cannot tell you how much I love this post. I would marry it if it were legal.

    I love rocks so much, and I'm sending this post over to a good friend who hearts them even more. You have HIT the nail on the head with this! And I am reading it again, now.

    So, there.

  11. Sometimes pure nature is all the inspiration one needs. Thanks for sharing these... it reminds me how much I love my local granite hills.

  12. From Chris' good friend who hearts rocks even more than she - bravo you! Wonderful, wonderful post written in such heart felt words. It is obvious you have a connection to the earth just as I do - it's story, it's history, it's secrets and it's enduring and slowing changing beauty.

    Thank you for writing and sharing this and thank you Chris for making sure I didn't miss it.

  13. beauty full

    stone people are my friends too...

    all the ancestors live within them.

  14. -Don- old cemeteries are wonderful places, great for long peaceful walks and discovering history. The weathered stones are cool, indeed.

    Laura X- Thanks for the comment about my 'sentence", maybe i'll do a whole book someday!

    Elizabeth- I love your rock story; you're definitely a woman after my own heart!

    Annova- I, too, feel attached to my local rocks. Thanks for visiting.

    Hi Pam- This post seems to have resonated with many people who love the earth and her mysteries. Thanks!

    ELFI- Merci beaucoups.

    Donna, your comment reminds me of a song by Sweet Honey in the Rock. I'm going to look for on youtube now...


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I'm happy to reply here, but may not always have time for individual emails.