Sunday, May 15, 2011


Our home is just a block from the great Mississippi—“Father of Waters.” I love to take a path that hugs the steep 100-foot bank down into the gorge and to the river. Along the way, the limestone strata lie exposed, sliced by the water over eons as if the river herself were curious to see the secrets they hold.

The golden rock face weeps with a number of small springs, some of which paint the stone bright green with moss. One of these springs caught my eye the other day. The delicate curtain of water below this one shimmered like none of the others.


As I leaned closer, I noticed the surface of the limestone was textured in an elegant scalloped pattern, like hundreds of little half-inch tongues lapping at the water trickling down. And each of the tongues itself was etched in a still-finer texture. Some had raised lips around the edge—as if evolving to better catch and hold the water.

     I’d always thought of such formations 
     as something primordial, something you’d 
     see only in the deepest, darkest cave.

At first, I thought it was some kind of fungus, but it was as hard as the rock itself. I realized what I’d found was an array of tiny calcifications, like stalactites or stalagmites, deposited by the acidic, calcium-infused water, molecule by molecule, over months—perhaps years—of constant dripping.

I’d always thought of such formations as something primordial, something you’d see only in the deepest, darkest cave. And yet here was an exquisite example of the earth’s constant, timeless transmutation, likely passed by unnoticed every day by dozens of people, within the reach of my arm.

In what ways will wonder find you today? Are you leaving the 
door open?


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