Reflections on Rocks

Reflections on Rocks

by Mike Morgan

A poem titled “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost begins, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” I’ll tell you right off the bat, that “something” is not me; I love rock walls and prove it regularly by adding to the ones I have built at my getaway house in Hickman County. Since I have exhausted my supply of large river rocks, on each trip to the farm I stop along I-40 and load my truck with rocks that have tumbled out of overhangs. Many are shale and contain fossilized remains of creatures that once lived at the bottom of a sea. Imagining Tennessee covered by a sea gives me perspective. It would be easy to feel despair at my insignificance, but instead I am fascinated by the remnants of living creatures, by the intricate passages in rock carved by centuries of flowing water, and by the knowledge that the earth has survived things I can’t even imagine. While I haven’t surrendered my feeling of responsibility in caring for the earth and its creatures, I am comforted to be insignificant. I don’t want to be god. I direct my attention to enjoying the world around me as it is. I get wonderful exercise moving stones as large as I can manage from their original location to the hillsides I hope to stabilize. No doubt my walls will tumble at some point but I learned as I advanced into old age that once I have experienced a pleasure, it cannot be taken away. I can call it up and savor it. And I do that.