One day, grown weary of man and the ways of men; grown weary of petty
EVEN THIS SHALL PASS AWAY
jealousies, intolerance, bigotry; grown weary of all the sham and subterfuge of humanity I
sought the out of doors. A small stream bed offered the only solace. As I walked along the
rock filled bottom, I was attracted by the many quartz pebbles that made up the piles of
stone. I have never before been attracted to them for I had the fault, common to people in
general, of over looking the common place, though interesting, in my search for the rare.
As I stooped, at last to pay tribute to these, our most common of pebbles, it seemed I
heard them speak. To my heart -- weary of depression, kidnapping, murder, and starvation
-- the story they told seemed as a healing balm. For they seemed to say:
"Oh ye mortal, do not fret for we know even this shall pass away -- even
depressions, kidnappings, murders, starvations; we know even these shall pass away.
Listen while we tell our story; we who have existed centuries where you have existed only
days, listen. We will tell you of, no, not all, but only of our recent existence. When the
crust of the earth was folding in the progress of creating mountains up in Canada, great
fissures were formed in the rocks. By being dissolved as silicon dioxide in water, we were
smuggled into these cracks. We were deposited as crystals upon the side of the fissures.
Finally so much of us was deposited that the place was completely filled and the separate
crystals could no longer be distinguished. We were down there, deep in the earth, and so
closely packed we could see nothing. Nevertheless, even that was to pass away.
In the course of time, the mountain system weathered away and we were exposed.
We received the rain, the wind, the heat, and the cold as did the surrounding rock; but, as
we were harder, more closely knit together and resisted corrosion, we soon projected
above the surrounding rock. Even this passed away. Attacked on three side we succumbed
to the weather. Alternate hot and cold developed fractures into which seeped water. The
water froze and the cracks widened. Finally, when we could no longer withstand this, we
broke off as an angular fragment. We might have lain there till the rain dissolved and
washed us all away. Instead, it happened that the world became colder at that time and
great ice sheets formed just to the north of us and spread southward. We became
imbedded in the ice and were carried thousands of miles. This took many years, as you
measure time, for the ice moved only a few feet a day. Finally we came to a point where
the ice melted as fast as it moved forward. Here we were dropped, along with a great
mass of other rock and debris. Because there was much water from the ice and from the
storms which developed due to the contrasts in temperature, a torrent picked us and
carried us on another journey. We got more jolting then than you poor humans must have
gotten in Fords while riding over Iowa's early winter, mud roads. For we were struck
against the bed rock and against other stones as we rolled along in the flood. Each spring
during high water, we made the same kind of journey. Is it any wonder that our sharp
points are worn off until we are smooth and round? The particles that were worn off you
see here around you - you call them sand.
That is the recent history of us who are known as quartz. Yet even this shall pass
away. You will leave some of us in your collection. You may use us in the foundation of
your house. Eventually, we will return to some stream. However, even that will change
and we will go on to something different. Now, of what are you despondent? Even that
shall pass away."
Darkness came and as I sat shivering on the bank listening to the wind moan
through the trees and watching angry clouds hide the moon, I thought: "Yes, even this
shall pass away. Day will come and the sun will shine. What was that I was worrying
over? Even they will pass away.
Eng. 1, 10
Nov. 29, 1933
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