I have a small basket in which I keep a number of stones. They are not precious ones in any sense but they have somehow caught my imagination in various ways. Some I have bought, others I have simply found. I often pick up the basket and thumb through them and what I see never ceases to make me wonder.
Take , for instance, one of the larger stones. No more than a couple of inches across, brown and nondescript but when I turn it over it hides a secret. Who knows where or how or when this stone was broken. It is smooth one side but underneath it is rough and there hidden within it is a small fossilised sea shell and now so much a part of the stone that it is inseparable. It has become petrified, quite literally turned to stone.
When I hold that stone in my hand I imagine that once it was liquid heat bubbling up into the sea and somehow that little shellfish got caught up in the flow and when the mineral cooled the shellfish was embalmed within it for ever.
I wonder at the age of that stone I am holding so casually in my hand...
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