Thursday, May 20 2004
The various landscaping projects this year and last year have depeleted the local supply of flat rocks. Sure I can find them if I'm willing to carry them long distances, but what I needed was a good supply I could drive to. So after Spanish class, I took the two dogs with me on a drive northward up Dug Hill Road (towards West Hurley and Woodstock) and Eventually we came to a little clearing in the forest on the side of the road where I could see exposed piles of thin-layered flat rock. When I wrote the word "clearing" just now, I was using it in the sense that applies to Dug Hill Road, where clearings are made by cutting down all the trees on a half acre lot and then bulldozing everything into a holy mess, usually causing severe injury to any trees unlucky enough to border on the clearing. That bulldozing often scratches an abundance of rocks to the surface, and sometimes the rocks are of the flat variety useful in paving walkways. The rocks in this particular clearing were plenty flat, but they were fine-grained, unusually brittle, and full of small fractures. What was most interesting about them was that they contained layers of a strange substance that gave them an iridescent sheen. Sometimes it was orange, sometimes it was blue, and sometimes it would change from one to the other when the angle of light changed. I had the feeling that this substance was an ancient organic layer and probably contained fossils, although I didn't see anything obvious. I did find a slab full of sand ripples from the ancient Devonian, but this hard, sandy piece seemed to be out of place, not part of this crumbly layer I was mining. Several big sheen-colored rocks from this clearing ended up in my walkway paving project.
In the afternoon I completed the walkway project with another 160 pounds of mortar and hundreds of pounds of flat rocks from various sources. Again the biting flies left me in relative peace.
The dogs were chasing some cyclists so I ran out to reprimand them and, hearing their calls overhead, I looked up and saw several large flocks of geese flying northward high in the sky. They were in these beautiful tree-shaped arrangements. Click to enlarge.
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