Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't Mess With My Rock

I mailed a rock to Afghanistan. You'd think my brother would have been thrilled to get a piece of the ranch to keep him company. He seemed a little underwhelmed. He obviously didn't inherit the rock thing. The rock thing comes from my mother. At least, I think it's her. I don't recall my grandmother ever dragging home rocks as souvenirs from her own pasture. My dad tolerates it and hardly ever lets us see him roll his eyes. My mother, on the other hand, gave each of us a big rock for Christmas one year.
Personally, I am constitutionally incapable of returning from a walk across the field without my pockets loaded with rocks. These are not valuable rocks in monetary terms. No diamonds, gold, or even semi-precious stones involved. But I consider my Christmas rock priceless. The land we live on was once buried under a huge glacier. Hence the name of nearby Glacier National Park. The sheet of ice picked up rocks, dragged them along, and left them behind when it melted. Thus we have dozens of different kinds of rocks, transported from miles away. Red, purple, green, all shades of gold and brown, pink and gray. Striped rocks and speckled rocks and rocks that look like frozen ripples of water. If I remembered my geology better, I could tell you whether they were sedimentary or igneous or whatever. Some are frosted with snow white lime deposits. On the south facing slopes, lichen blossoms across their surfaces in brilliant paint-splashes of orange, yellow, pale green and black. The rock my mother gave me is half the size of a bowling ball, crusted with orange lichen. I hauled it home to South Dakota, then moved it to Oregon, and now it has come back to the ranch with me. What's so special about a rock? It's just plain old granite. But my mother carefully extricated it from the edge of a tipi ring perched on the rim of the coulee over in the west pasture. Once, a hundred, maybe even two or three hundred years ago, my rock helped pin a hide in place and protect a family against the ever present west wind. And now, it holds a place of pride in my home.

10 comments:

Being Beth said...

Well of all things. We've got yet another thing in common. For some reason, I have always picked up a rock from everywhere I've ever been. My kids think I'm nuts, but I enjoy having the physical reminder of the places.

Now I'm going to have to blog about my rocks. Thanks for the idea.

Thanks for sending me your email address. I'll drop you a note this weekend. Mine is beth.lahaie@gmail.com.

Olive Tree Guitar Ensemble said...

Hi, it's a very great blog.
I could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
Keep doing!

Anonymous said...

I love rocks. If there is such a thing as reincarnation I want to come back as a rock on the sunny side of the hill where the sun shines warmer and the snow isn't as deep. I gave my kids, sisters and neices all rocks for Christmas one year but none of them come from the tipi ring. You should have seen the look on their faces and I told them I wanted to see the rock in their house when I come to visit.

Anonymous said...

Hi again, I'm Karilynn's mother and I forgot to sign my name on the comment above. I'm so good on the computer.

Kari Lynn Dell said...

Sigh. Another illusion shattered. Turns out Mom picked up our rocks on the hillside below the teepee rings because the rocks in the rings are mostly buried and don't have the pretty lichen on them.

I, however, still maintain that someone used my rock to hold down their teepee and it rolled down the hill when they were packing up to move on.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Karilynn for writing all these great stories. I can't wait to read the next one. I'll bet they used your rock for something as rocks were their greatest tools. Mom

Anonymous said...

Yeah, when I got my lump of coal.... I mean lichen rock, I will admit it was a bit of a surprise. The guys all had a chuckle. The rock is displayed here in the hooch and when anyone asks I tell them some outlandish story of it being a piece of a warhead or something. Of course they believe it, why not, I tell it with the most serious expression on my face. When you B.S. someone you have to have a good memory though because, as you know, if you don't tell the same story twice, someone will catch on.
So, now there is a piece of MT in Afghanistan. Marty.......Oh, I haven't met anyone who knows dad yet but I've only been here 5 months.

Anonymous said...

Almost forgot. Remember when Bill Johnson found those arrow heads down by the river? Arnie said it ruined him as a cow hand because he was always looking down at the ground for indian hammers and things. Marty....I hope this all posts. For some reason everything has gone to spanish, even my typing. No spell check for that LOL!

Kari Lynn Dell said...

Sheesh. Bad native, spelled tipi wrong.

Janelle Holden said...

Fun post! My husband and I collect rocks everywhere - we just brought some back from Tasmania. He has a degree in geology so can tell me the whole history of the rock, but I just think they are pretty.