Ancient and alien

Yeah, I was that kid who looked out on what others regarded a boring roadside stretch of Missouri and saw woodland cultures flaking arrow points around the fire, or a lone shivering Frenchman snagging beaver from a rocky stream (France must have really been bad to prefer that), or shaggy mastodons lumbering through a far different landscape than appeared out the backseat window of my dad’s car. And volcanoes. Fascinated by volcanoes. I imagined when the rocky outcrops dotting - dominating in some places - the low woodland mountains in southeastern Missouri were volcanoes. Granite abounds in the region, but in one special alien place rhyolite columns follow the horizon up the side of Hughes Mountain. Rhyolite forms when molten rock cools quickly and fractures into columns. I love December hiking when the temperatures cool, the snakes hibernate, gnats die and the horizons are wide open. Bare winter on the rhyolite summit here is a soul-sunning experience, a chance to stand among something ancient and alien. I find solace in the endurance of billion year old molten rock which cooled so quickly it fractured. And the kid in me likes climbing over some of the oldest rock in the country, although, yeah, I use a hiking pole now. I call this photo Ancient Summit. By the way, tell kids to look up and notice things once in a while. They may not care, and that’s fine. But for one or two, it may liberate a new horizon. Every place has a story.

Copyright RC 2018


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