Geology and Peace of Mind

Takakkaw Falls, Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Near Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, September 2012.

My recent trip to the Canadian Rockies ignited in me an interest in geology.  I looked at the mountains and wanted to know what had formed them.  I’ve bought a few beginners’ books on geology and the history of the earth and am reading them with great fascination.  This past weekend, when I was in Algonquin Park in Ontario, I was also aware of the boulders and outcroppings of rock and am learning a bit about how these were formed.

Rocks on the Bat Lake Trail, Algonquin Park, Ontario, September 2012

Rock wall on the Bat Lake Trail, Algonquin Park, Ontario, September 2012

Contemplating the incomprehensible sweep of billions of years of creation and change that the earth has gone through has brought me some surprising peace of mind.  I’ve learned that the rock in the mountains were once under sea, something I dimly recall hearing about before, but not paying any attention to.  In some of the rock, the remains of shells are found.  This has gotten me thinking about the oneness of life, in a literal sense.  What we now see and experience as solid mass rising above us, was once on the bottom of tropical seas.  Water, ice, fire, land and movement shaped the western mountains and the boulders in the east.  And my existence here in this tiny speck of time is amazing seen in the context of the vast billions of years of earth’s history.

Weeping Wall, Icefield Parkway, Alberta, 2012

By the Icefield Parkway in Alberta–the Weeping Wall, September 2012

Many of us are afflicted or in some anguish at different times of our lives and perhaps unable to get outside of our own suffering.  Despite this, I have begun wondering if the felt sense of the earth’s awesome history might also help other people feel less alienated from their surroundings, as it has for me.  I don’t know the answer to this.  But what I’m discovering is that the study of science at a beginner’s level is fascinating and quite do-able and, for me, calming.

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2 Comments on “Geology and Peace of Mind”

  1. A knowledge of the Earth, and especially how life has shaped and also been shaped by its history has always made me feel very connected to my surroundings. I hope you have fun with geology! I blog about it from time to time, and am thinking of running geology-themed photo workshops next season..

  2. artsofmay says:

    Thank you for your comment. It’s been great to find this new way of relating to nature and of having a different perspective on life. Your idea for geology themed photo workshops sounds very interesting.


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