The Teachings of Rock

The ability of a land to display spires of rock, allows for understanding of height as more than the “top” of the body.

It means the ability to read your own height within the landscape. You might call that a vantage point, or a point that gives you sight, which is natural enough, because it is high, but it is also a place to mind, which is to say to tell your own stories across the map of the land. Ultimately, those are stories of a body moving in space, or of a body staying absolutely still, in its moment, and moving that moment of stillness outward. The image of my mind below, with a head at both ends, is such a moment of stillness.


It stilled me after climbing the mountain today, and in my stillness I saw my mind within the world, not above it. Without rock bluffs, we would build microwave towers. We would have that sense of extending the body’s reach through the mind in that way, physically, while it is also possible to do so by training in the reading of rock. Here, in this stillness, I learned today how the spine of this two-headed self is made of tiny little blocks, which break off and fall to create the scree far below, which catches the water that falls from this height, exactly where gravity has caught them…

… and exactly where the shadow of the cliff can keep them. In this way the things of the mind learn the right relationship to the things of the body. It is learned by climbing a rock. But there’s a catch. You have to climb the rock when you’re a child, too, so it can teach you the wisdom of your body, plus that resounding word that speaks the mountain: Rock!

2 replies »

    • If you mean ‘man is the measure of all things,’ not as those words state it in English. Note that my image attempted, lamely I know, to include this height within the landscape. I guess I was being overly clever. Well, a guy has got to have some fun, right?



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