By Susan Sprout
I wanted to write an article about the geology of our area – a study on the amazing hows and whys of the built-up layers and types of rock and mineral formations under us, plus the soils deposited here for growing things and us to walk on and build on. Researching and writing an article about that far down Underfoot would undoubtedly be a complex task, something I really don’t have the background for.
I’m here where I want to be looking for plants, and the plants certainly seem to know where they want to put down their roots in clay, dirt, sand, mud, rocks, acid, alkaline, wet dry. So I guess maybe there is no need…and yet, sometimes there are days… when I mosey along the creek, looking down, and want to know where the vast amounts of pebbles and rocks came from upstream.
I look at all of the different colors there, made possible by coal, slate, quartz, shale, limestone, mudstone – a palate of blues, greens, browns, pinks, ecrus, whites, blacks. All at one time were part of huge, gorgeous, solid mountains, the ancient Applalchians, first formed roughly 480 million years ago during the Ordovician Period and, some say, as tall as the Himalayas. Now in our time, eroded, broken down, tumbled and jostled until they are almost round, practically sorted by size as the bank slopes to the water – their placer and their maker. Millions and millions of years it took for the pretty rocks to get here, down to pick-up-able size, for kids of all ages to plop back into the water or skip across it, to enjoy the smooth feel of shale or the bumpiness of sandstone or just the fun of drawing colored pictures on flat rocks.