Thursday, January 21, 2010

Precious Gems

A Michigan journal entry from August 8, 2008

As I sat at the bottom of the dock digging my hands into the rocks, I thought, “how priceless are these little bits of stone.” They may not be diamonds or sapphires, but they are in so many ways infinitely more valuable. I love the way they change color in the light or between water and air. I love the amazing variety and how, no matter how often or how long I look, I an always find something beautiful and new.

My favorite are the subtly striped stones, like little pieces of far off planets, the dark swirls hinting of alien weather patterns and things too ancient to comprehend.

The fossils always give a little thrill, their surfaces etched with the lacy remains of life from long ago. Most precious of this is, of course, the coveted Petosky stone which, when found is cause for celebration indeed.

Then there are the different quartz-like stones, shimmering pink or gold, the leopard-spotted stones in orange and the ones which are pale blue-gray with black and white striations, like miniature planet Earths. The rocks with portions cut away by time and the elements make me think of layered jawbreakers half-eaten. Even the most plain-looking rock can have secrets when you turn it over and experience all of its facets.

There are also a myriad of shells, tiny curling snail shells in brown or blue-gray or white, and copious zebra mussel shells. While I am aware of the ecological ravages of this introduced species, I can’t help but find their empty shells beautiful, with their iridescent interiors and colorful exteriors.

On rare occasions there might even be a precious piece of beach glass to be found. Usually white or clear, but sometimes brown, pale blue or green or, if you’re very lucky, dark blue. Leftovers from human attempts to pollute and destroy, taken by the water and sand and transformed into luminous gems, now more valuable than the original glass ever was: these are reminders that nature can and will outlast our attempts to subdue her.

These treasures are right there for the enjoying, before my eyes and under my feet, whenever I can again sit peacefully on the shore of Mullett Lake. May I never take them for granted.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Is that beautiful. Once again, you nailed the moment and idea... Cheers!