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.
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.
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.