He’s been at it again!


I’m not sure what it is about me that wants to leave a sign that I passed this way, but here is another example. (I suppose it has something to do with immortality and my apparent lack of it, but when you consider the matter, I don’t have any evidence that I am not immortal.)

When we were last out to Roundrock, after our post-lunch stupor, I took myself on a short walk over to where I imagine our house will some day rise. There is a small mound of rock and soil here that makes a convenient (if not altogether comfortable) seat, and I can sit here and let my imagination go off in whatever direction it likes.

On this visit, however, I chose to do a little scratching. Above you see a piece of sandstone. It’s about the size of a dinner plate. As I sat on the mound on the ground, I held the sandstone in one hand and considered carving my initials in it. I needed a tool made of steel, but the only thing I had like that at the time was my car keys, and that didn’t seem very prudent. So I looked about for a rock that might work, and the light brown thing you see in the photo caught my eye. It looked almost like granite, but that would be an unlikely stone to find at Roundrock.

I expected the stone — whatever it was — to crumble as soon as I applied it to the sandstone. And yet, it held up. In fact, throughout the whole fifteen minutes or so of scratching and scraping, the little stone did not change at all. It remained sharp, and I can use it again to deepen my carving. I really did seem like a piece of granite.

In a book by a former state geologist, there is the assertion that Missouri is actually one continuous granite mountain that has been covered over with millions of years of sediment. The peak of this great granite mountain is a place called Taum Sauk Mountain — the highest point in the state — over in southeast Missouri. In my part of Missouri, however, the granite runs deep, so the little carving stone I used could not possibly be from that source.

So let’s conclude that the small stone is not actually granite. I’m not sure what it is, and I can’t say that I’ve seen another stone like it around there. Obviously, I need to return to my mound on the ground and look around for what might be found. Perhaps there are more like it, and then I can puzzle my way to some sort of explanation for this seemingly different stone amongst my chert and sandstone and limestone.

The carving is not very deep. Most of what you see here is just surface dust. I’ll need to cut my initials in much deeper if I am going to achieve immortality. So back to the woods for me.

Missouri calendar:

  • Dabbling ducks return from the north.

5 Responses to “He’s been at it again!”

  1. Mark Paris Says:

    It looks about the size and shape of the crushed stone used as ballast on railroad tracks, and that’s often granite. Could that rock have been dropped by someone?

  2. Ed Abbey Says:

    If immortality is anything like the old movie Highlander portrayed it, we have to die first before we know for sure. I guess I’m with you, don’t risk it and continue carving them initials.

  3. roger Says:

    change one letter in “passed” and ya got another way to mark your passing, probably less obvious to humans but ever so much more significant to other animals.

  4. robin andrea Says:

    “PL” –My first thought was that it was for pablo and libby. Although it could mean post-lunch.

  5. Hick Says:

    Obviously it’s chalk rock…that’s what we used to call any rock that you could use to mark another rock.

    We had some friends that moved here from Missouri a couple of years ago and they were thrilled to find granite “out-croppings” on their property. They rubbed their hands in anticipation of making big bucks selling their granite to kitchen countertop makers. Unfortunately their bubble was burst when it was pointed out that the whole dang Sierra Nevada Mountains were made of granite. No shortage of granite around these parts.

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