by Geoffrey Jones

 

Not long ago I overheard the manager of our local Salvation army store telling a customer about his pleasure as a youth exploring a stone quarry.

When I was a kid the only thing I looked forward to more than the Saturday matinee was a hike to the stone Quarry.

A hike to the stone Quarry, for me, was like a trip to the dinosaur age. The fact that it was loaded with fossils helped that fantasy. Every chunk of crinoid and trilobite laden rock was another time travel ticket. Also there were rumors of gold deposits. I could easily imagine finding a stone laced with pure gold.

Sometimes quarry trips were group endeavors. A little group of friends, not unlike the gang in “Stand By Me” would meet, early if possible, and carrying some water in a mayonnaise jar and a few peanut butter sandwiches we’d be off for the hike.

It was almost “Cloak and Dagger” such an expedition. We would feel self important, like prospectors, or archaeologists. Our talk was usually serious in nature, loaded with as many recollections of previous acts of adventure as we could muster.

At the quarry itself was not unlike an astronaut’s moon or Mars landing. There was an almost sacred quality to the site, removed as it was from everyday life. We always moved slowly, savoring the richness and variety of the jagged terrain. If we had small picks or scoops we would begin a search for the fossils or mystery minerals we knew abounded.

Time stood still, while we were there, and finally as the day waned, we would make our way homeward, lunch bag now filled with our rocky hoard of finds.

I’m glad I listened in on that conversation. It reminded me once again just how much pleasure is here in this life in the simplest and most overlooked places..

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