Just a rock

There, where the Cascade Mountains of Western Washington State in the U.S. have been ripped and torn by glaciers again and again for many million years worth of ice-ages, there shows now the land beneath – clear of the ice sheets and covered by coniferous temperate rain forests.

Pacific Northwest Rain Forest

Eons ago, a glacier tore some ancient rock from one of the rising Cascades and transported it down in its icy slow-motion torrent, grinding and pushing it and deposited it near here when the ice receded. Then, later, the rock found itself in the course of a small river that we today call Woods Creek. Over endless years, it was buried, resurfaced, broken, tumbled on the river’s bottom and buried again. And all the while, the ice ages came and went again and again with their mile thick ice standing and grinding over this land. And the river, sinuous, turned and twisted and changed the valley and it found and reburied the rock many times. A summer of two of sparkling light through the moving river’s water and then tens of thousands of years more of darkness buried in the silt and sand while the glaciers came and went.


Today, I went down to where the small creek that runs through our property meets Woods Creek. It’s a place we call ‘Paradise’ because of its privacy and beauty. And I climbed down the bank there and looked where the stones were eroding now from a bank of clay that was probably laid down before Christ was born or the Sumerians first scribbled cuneiforms on their clay tablets. And there was a rock that has been waiting all these endless years to be found. A rock that no one has ever gazed on before. A rock that has seen summers and winters come and go before the memories of man began to pool.

Paradise from up on the bank

Small and rounded by adventures we can never know in detail. Fresh from its most recent burial from how many millennia, we can only guess – it lay in the sunlight before me and said, “Take me. Let me be special among all the rocks of the Earth in this moment. You, soft life, who come and go like the shafts of sunlight that spill through the trees, reach down now and pick me up and treasure me for a few moments in your ever so brief existence. I will be here long long after you and your civilization have gone but pick me up now and bring me into the warmth of higher consciousness and give me an identity through your regard.

Paradise from below where our rock lived

And I said, “Yes. I will take you from this place and treasure you. And I will take you to the other side of the Earth to a place called Aotearoa and give you to my friends there as a piece of this land so far away. And you will be a small story of permanence amid impermanence for them and each time they look at you and think of your long and strange journey, they will remember how small and transient we all are and they will see the ice coming and going and feel the eons when you lay first buried and then revealed and then buried again.

And you, lying there in their hand will honor them and their new property there in the Land of the Long White Cloud. You will be a small emissary from the land they left – to the new land they love. And long long after they and I are gone, you will remain, now swept by the land forming and changing torrents of time and geology in your new home. And, of all of us, only you will see the world as it will exist beyond man.

Rock of Snohomish, Emissary to Aotearoa

To Bruce Scanlon and Kathy Guidi, please accept this small house warming present – come so far and so long to greet your new lives.

One Response to “Just a rock”

  1. Kathy says:

    So eloquently written Dennis. She’s a beauty that rock and we will be honored to have her. And she will reside among many cherished stones and gems that have found their way to Wainui.

    We happen to love stones and I’ve amassed a small collection. I almost always pick up a ‘keeper’ from our travels.

    See you in a few days!