Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Point of Rocks

In the early spring of our first year in Oklahoma, when the trees were still bare, but the air had the sweet smell of impending new life, the previous owner of our ranch came over for a visit and took us to a spot near a small spring where there was a flat rock once used by Native Americans as a grinding stone.  Sure enough, the otherwise inauspicious-looking rock had the unmistakable marks of man's hand.  There were two shallow, smooth indentations worked into the rock, one slightly deeper than the other.  How many years had it taken to engrave those marks?  It felt slightly surreal to run my hands into the hollows, imagining others sitting where I was, imagining kernels of corn slowly pulverized into meal.  I've tried many times to find the grinding rock again, but have failed.  The old man had taken us right to it without a second's hesitation.  It seems to have vanished into the woods; under the deepening pile of fallen leaves and the thick, tenacious vines with wicked thorns.  History slipping away.

The ranch is full of rocks and stones, of course.  Mostly crumbly sandstone covered in carpets of moss in an array of complex, luxuriant greens.  There is a long outcropping of rocks, a thick, broken seam that runs across our property.  We learned that long ago, maybe 50 or 60 years ago, rock was quarried from the ranch and used to build the local high school stadium.  Looking at the size of the structure it's surprising that any rocks remain here on the land.  It's an impressive if inelegant stadium, rough and sturdy, with colors ranging from deep brown to rust to burnished gold.  The raw rocks hewn and hauled and fitted into place to fit our needs.  The hand of man touching stone. 


  1. Wonderful story. I sometimes try to imagine earlier generations standing where I stand and how their lives differed from mine. How wonderful to have seen that stone; what a shame it has been "lost."

  2. Is the former owner no longer with us? If he is, and contactable, perhaps he might like to be asked to show you the site once again. Things like that can be tantalising in the extreme especially when it's on one's own land!

    Hope you find the particular rock again one day, if your guide is no longer here!


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