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Saturday, February 11, 2012


the face

back of head

another view of the face

I might have found a fossil today. Went out to fill the birdfeeders and found a rock on the trail between the door and the birdfeeder. Round, about the size of a golf ball with dimples sticking out instead of in. It's not a rock from around here. I know Air Bellows rocks. This rock isn't from anywhere near here. The color is not from here. I walk that trail every day, sometimes twice in a day. I'd never seen it before today. I would have seen it. I notice rocks for their beauty. I picked it up, thinking little of it, maybe it rolled down from the road. Later in the day I went out to put more seeds in the feeder and saw the rock. Picked it up, looked at it, thought it oddly interesting, not from around here. But I've brought rocks here from Baja in Mexico, Whitetop mountain. Every time I go out for a walk I come home with a rock that caught my eye. There is a mess of rocks around the house I've picked up. Other people collect figurines. I collect rocks. No special kind of rock, just a shape and color that catches my eye. I see them the original sculpture. Every one uniquely itself, like snowflakes.

I put the rock on a rock pedestal I set up, a square rock about 8" thick, about 18"x18" sitting on a locust stump I set in the ground. On the square rock sits an oval green rock found in the southern part of Baja California. I saw an entire mountain made of these oval green rocks, perfectly smooth, every size from pebble to boulders the size of my house, even bigger. It was like God's wheelbarrow dumped a load of green gravel and made a mountain. I pulled off the road to pick up a rock to bring home in the trunk. It's the size of a small watermelon. I've made a painting of it that is in Atlanta. It's one of my favorites. . The inside is a soft adobe red. It has 2 eyes, a face and hair. It's like the external part of the ball suggests hair, the broken off part suggests face with eyes.

Years ago I read in a book about Japanese gardens that a Japanese gardener must be able to see the face on a rock. From then I started looking for the faces. The faces on rocks are like the faces you see in trees. They're not exactly human faces; they are their own faces. Owls have their faces, deer have their faces, cats have their faces, rocks have their faces too. It's one of the reasons I've come to see the rock as a form of consciousness, the slowest of all, slower than the green world, entirely unable to move of its own power. Its only power is its hardness. In contrast to the worm that is totally vulnerable without defenses. Living underground, the worm needs no defenses.

This face looks like a Halloween mask that covers the eyes, like the Lone Ranger mask, though this a desert sand red with two eyes. I've made a few paintings of rock faces. Finding the face on a rock is like finding the face in a tree. Just wait for it and one will appear. I've thought of painting faces I see in trees, just never have done it. That could be a good outdoor project for the summer. This maybe fossil might have come out of the ground near where I found it some time in the night. It wasn't there yesterday. Martha the dog might have found it and brought it here sometime late yesterday after I'd put out birdseed. That's a place Martha likes to stretch out in the sun. I'd have seen it, like I saw it today. It's a rock I would notice first time seeing it. First thing I see, it's not from around Air Bellows. That catches my eye.

I showed it to Joe and Melia Edwards, who are both interested in fossils and meteorites. I had thought it was a meteorite, but right away Melia took it for a fossil. After much discussion, looking in books, Joe and Melia first took it for a fossilized pine cone. Then it started to look like a fossilized snail. Then a fossilized nut, like a walnut, and Joe settled on something like a Butternut. Melia dated it something between 25 and 50 million years old. Joe said when they get their rock-cutting saw ready, he'd like to cut into it and see what is inside. The interior will tell what it is.


1 comment:

  1. I found a round rock that could be this rock's twin. It is just a hair smaller than a golf ball, is nearly round and appears to have the same irregularities and bumps as your rock. I found my rock near a campfire at lake Shetek in SW Minnesota. I stumbled over your round rock while trying to research what my rock might be. When held in hand, the round rock exudes a mystical quality that it belonged to someone from another time and place. I experience some guilt for picking up the rock and removing it from the lakeside but then again, it may have been there for me to find. The spherical nature of this rock appears to be unnatural and fits nicely in hand.