Wanting to share a memory from childhood with my own children, I took them to spend the hot hours of the afternoon walking the cool, shady trails running through “Rock City,” an expansive area of quartz conglomerate (also know as pudding stone) that was formed about 320 million years ago during the “Pennsylvanian Period.” It is truly a sight to behold considering the enormity of the time and natural energy that went in to creating it.
Showing these amazing examples of our earth’s natural history to the kids make me admit with chagrin that I really should have paid a wee bit more attention to my college geology class in order to have better explanations for them to what created these enormous crevices and joints, instead of having to read it off of the tour guide map. My dear friend, now a geology professor herself, will love reading me finally admit to this.
Still as impressive as it was when I visited here as a kid is Balancing Rock, a 1000 ton boulder resting in balance upon another large rock. The rocks are cool to the touch despite the heat of the day, and covered in soft mosses and lichen. You are surrounded by the peaceful sense that there truly are things in this world bigger than you, and that they were here before and they’ll be here after you, and they’ll never care that you didn’t finish that report at work yesterday or that the lawn is overdue for a mowing. We are tiny in our existence, and yet we make so much noise about it.
The “Indian Stairs,” called that because it is believed they were built by the native Seneca tribe of the area in order to reach the lookout points that lie at the top of these rock formations, where the view goes on for miles and miles. I had to giggle listening to the kids panting and breathlessly complaining that they would never be able to make it to the top…yeah, I remember thinking that too.
Of course, the kids walked the path too fast and chattered excitedly about heading back to the swimming pool and video games, but at least, for a few moments one afternoon I got them to open their eyes to some of the pretty amazing sights that surround us when you walk outside. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.