lost and not found

Look at that chunk of sandstone. Isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t it intriguing?

I came upon this rock years ago in one of my rambles through the northeast corner of my Ozark woods. It was a larger chunk when I picked it up from the forest floor and I split in longitudinally (if we can take those horizontal stripes within as latitude) with some tool I must have been carrying with me. (Or maybe I just dropped it on a larger rock. I have those.)

What I found within was a surprise and a delight. The light-colored core was hollow but filled with water that dribbled out. I immediately thought I was witnessing history. Millions of years ago (after the meteor that struck this part of the world and eventually formed my round rocks), when the land was still a shallow saltwater sea, this sand was laid down in its layers, with slight variations in color to give a pleasing effect to the bipeds that would eventually evolve.

But where did that light-colored bit come from? The wrong color. The wrong shape. The wrong place. How did that happen?

My simian brain began to conjure an explanation. The red sediment was present, but some incident caused a large dollop of yellow sand to be dropped upon it. (This would have happened long after the meteor strike, so it couldn’t be that.) Perhaps some sea creatures had a battle that stirred up the sediment elsewhere, leaving this dollop here. (Sandstone was used for a lot of buildings during settlement times in this area, and its color varies, so I don’t suppose yellowish sandstone would be too far away from what became my woods, where I’ve only seen this ruddy sandstone.)

When the water dribbled out, I was convinced it was millions of years old, just waiting for this moment in infinity to be released. That’s silly, of course. Sandstone is porous enough to absorb water (which makes it a dangerous stone to use for campfire rings since the water within can get hot enough that the stone can explode). The water that dribbled out was likely absorbed in far more recent times and was not the untainted waters of an ancient age.

Still, I liked all of the speculation this stone caused, and I wanted to keep it around the cabin because of that and because it looks so nice. I was on the outward bound leg of my peregrinations that day, however, and I didn’t want to carry the chunk with me. So I set it at the base of a tree, on the east-facing side, where I could find it later.

And I never have. This was more than a decade ago, and I made some half-hearted efforts since then to find it again. Perhaps it is buried under leaf litter. February is the best time for this kind of search. The fallen leaves tend to be blown away by then.

Explore posts in the same categories: Roundrock

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