This week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills is talking about rocks; rock formations in the landscape and rocks in the middle of the road, literally and figuratively.
She talks about the mesas in Zion National Park near to where she is living in Utah.
She describes it as 250 million years old with sandstone cliffs reaching ¾ mile, or 1207 m, high.
Uluru © Norah Colvin
Of course, I can’t think of large sandstone rocks without thinking of Australia’s Uluru/Ayers Rock, the world’s largest sandstone inselberg or “island mountain”, which I was lucky enough to visit a couple of years ago.
We’re not going into competition here, but Uluru is estimated to be about 600 million years old. Reaching (only) 348 metres high, it is not as high as Zion’s cliffs. However, it goes deeper under the ground than above.
While indigenous peoples of Australia have lived near Uluru for at least 10 000 years, it was only “discovered” by European explorers in the mid-nineteenth century. They named it Ayers Rock after the then Chief Secretary of South Australia Sir Henry Ayers. Since 1993 it has borne the dual name Uluru/Ayers Rock.
I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for those first European explorers when they came across the enormous rock which reaches further below ground than it does above, though I guess they didn’t know that at the time. There are also many other hazards to negotiate in Central Australia.
With Charli’s challenge to write about a rock, I was tempted to innovate on Michael Rosen’s Going on a Bear Hunt.
“Oh-oh, a rock.
A big red rock.
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Oh no! We’ve got to go around it.
But Charli moves on from the literal to the figurative as she describes challenges; the ones, unlike sand that is easy to sweep away; as “rocks in the road”, rocks that “cannot be ignored . . . (that) call us to change or be changed.”
Sometimes the rocks have been placed by someone or something else. Sometimes they are of own making. Sometimes they reside only in our heads. Often the rock’s size and our ability to move it depends on our attitude.
There is a rock in my path at the moment; small but, like a pebble in a shoe, bothersome. I have tried many alternatives but not yet found the solution. There is a popular saying that “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” I’m ready and waiting.
Sometimes I feel that my attempts are a bit like those Sisyphus moving his rock, but without the physical effort. Sometimes I just think I’ve got rocks in my head. Most people don’t understand why I bother; but how can I not?
“I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10 000 ways that won’t work.”
I don’t think I’m quite to 10 000 yet, but the number is growing.
As Charli says, those rocks call us to change; they give us an opportunity for new learning. I’m never against learning something new. I’ve combined these ideas in my story.
But before I take you there, I want to tell you about Charli. She has been squeezed between a rock and a hard place since she was kicked out of her beautiful home over six months ago. You can only admire her tenacity in remaining positive. With all the rocks that have been pelted at her, she still takes up the broom to sweep away the rocks that fall in others’ paths. Please check out her post and read of the J-Family, who have finally found a home after months of homelessness. Charli is hosting a Amazon Housewarming party to help them acquire basic household items. The seven-year old boy would also love some books to read. If you can help, please visit Charli’s post for details.
Now, back to my response to Charli’s challenge to “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a rock in the road. It can be physical, adding to a plot twist, or it can be metaphorical for a barrier or hardship. Go where you find the rock.” I hope you like it.
Rocks in her head
The newcomer was intrigued. Every morning she’d be there, filling a battered barrow with rocks from the road. You’d think that, after a day or two, she’d have removed them all. But, every morning, even earlier, a quarry truck would rumble by, spilling more.
Longer-term residents shrugged indifferently, “She’s got rocks in her head.”
When he asked her one day, she replied, “Come and see.”
He followed into her back garden, and watched. She stood at the edge of a pit and threw in the rocks. After each she listened, hopeful of a sound, of one day filling it.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.