Gospel of Rocks

SOMETIMES, WHEN LIFE IS DIFFICULT OR TIMES ARE VERY CHALLENGING, or the wind seems steadily against you, perspective is a helpful thing. Rocks can be a comfort. Holding in your hand something that you know was formed over a billion years ago, in a vast outpouring of molten lava, and thinking about how long a billion years is, can be helpful. Knowing that there were gas bubbles in the cooling lava, that they were left as empty spaces when the rock solidified, and that those empty spaces were—over millions of years—filled with new minerals like quartz, and thinking about how long a million years is, can be helpful. Knowing that chunks of that bedrock were broken off, and washed by so many billions of waves that they became round and smooth, or carried far and wide by glaciers that seemed to last forever, but retreated about 10,000 years ago, is somehow useful to the soul. It is good to come to know such stories, what I call the ‘gospel of rocks.’ And holding such a stone in your hand, where it seems to fit perfectly, and remembering the day and the place you found it, is perhaps the most helpful thing of all.

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