Rocks of Ages

I was meditating on the past the other day and a memory came to mind, which led me along familiar paths to stand on some interesting surfaces. When I was about four years old, the woods on the northwest side of Third Avenue North were being excavated for the eventual construction of an apartment complex. During the excavation they uncovered a (to us) huge stone upon which my sister and I took turns standing. I think my Mom took our pictures, as my dad would have been at work. It was a small boulder which an ancient glacier had deposited there during its retreat.

Beacon Rock

Visualizing that rock reminded me of other rocks upon which I have stood—a flank or remnant of an old lava flow on the upper ridges of Mount Rainier where I picnicked with a former library co-worker in the mid-1960s. In the mid-1970s a group of members of the Bibliovermis Club (the second post-high school group to which I belonged) did a day trip to the Columbia River to commemorate some aspect of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. We honored the recent placement of a plaque near the base of Beacon Rock, also known as Castle Rock, which thrusts upward from the Columbia River. Several of us walked the trail all the way to the top of the rock, where I was once again photographed standing on a rock.

The Bibliovermis Club was a group which formed after a series of classes on advanced book collecting which was held at UW during 1969/70, taught by the late George H. Tweney, book man and major book collector. It was those classes and the group which followed, grown out of a need by class attendees not to lose touch with one another, that eventually led to the formation of the Book Club of Washington in 1982.

But back to rocks. In the former Lake Union Golf Course, which we neighborhood children always called the “Galer Street Golf Course”, there was a grassy knoll on which grew a marvelous hazel nut bush or tree (it was taller than I) and nearby a small outcrop of rocks which was a great place to stand to get a kite going up into the air. That is gone now, buried under the development of apartments which now sit on much of the former golf course on Queen Anne’s east flank.

Another rock I remember standing on was located at the former Mercer playfield, where the beautiful fountain now provides water, music and pleasure to a great many Seattle Center visitors. The rock was nothing special to most people, but did raise me above the ground level without the whim of a swing or teeter-totter to lower me every other moment. It stood close to the fence which divided the play area from the main field which was sometimes used for baseball games, a welcome diversion from the cement-covered school playground at Warren Avenue, where Key Arena now sits. There are other good-sized rocks around Queen Anne hill.