because we are a breath of dreaming
infused with blood
and procreation is our measure only
not our reckoning,
as the living stone of earth
is god’s only measure
and not his being reckoned.
….George Payerle from ‘The Last Trip to Oregon’, Ronsdale Press, 2001
The weathered surface suggests what’s inside. On the weathered surface, lichens grow an organic layer of yellows, greens, reds and oranges rooted to the rock. Beneath the layer of lichen, the rock is a mystery. Water from the sky and earth seep in through cracks; minerals bleed out aging the rock, breaking it down. Bleeding minerals feed the lichen…calcite, hematite, manganese…precipitating through fractures. A skin like the crust of the earth forms a protective coating.
This process takes time. Subject to erosion, the rock fractures and crumbles, losing its integrity, becoming smaller particles, the soil of the earth’s surface again.
The weathered surface is the local history of the rock. Is it smooth or rugged? Is the rock new to the neighborhood? Has it come a long way from its outcrop or exposure? And the weathered surface is a camouflage. Blending in, it is both a response to and a protection from the surroundings. The weathered surface keeps the heart pure, clean, maintaining its mystery.
But, the prospector is a detective. Her intent is to solve the mystery. She breaks the rock. Applies this intent down through the bulge of the shoulder, snapping the elbow out and downward, bearing the force through the forearm, transferring it into the rock hammer in the grip of her hand. Translates desire into physical force.
Inside the rock, there is no accumulation, nothing extraneous, nothing interfering with the purity and clarity of what the prospector sees. There are no scars, no scratches, no additions to the body. Changes are subtle, a leaching outwards, requiring great time and infinitesimal change. The weathered surface not only takes from within, but allows within all the while protecting the internal core, the center of the rock.
The weathered surface breathes - life - in and out. Simultaneous contraction keeping the core intact.
NEXT WEEK: The Art of Prospecting: Vignette I