If you go to the URL above, you’ll see pictures of grains of sand magnified to 250 times their actual size. And I’m pretty sure these pictures will bring a smile of delight to your face, as they did to mine.
I am a rock aficionado. I can’t pinpoint when, exactly, I became a rockaholic – maybe I was born this way (my dad is, after all, a geologist); or maybe it began when my fourth grade teacher loaded us all up on a bus and took us on a field trip to a place where we could dig up agates the size of duck eggs; or maybe it was my beloved Aunt Junie who lived on the Oregon coast and trained me how to spot agates on the beach from 15 feet away – but from as far back as I can remember, rocks have held a special attraction for me.
When I became a teacher, it became a Christmas tradition for me to call my students up one by one and let them choose a rock from a bowl of rocks I’d found on the Oregon coast. They’d stand in front of their classmates, holding their chosen rock, while I told them all the things I loved about them. Then I’d let them know that the rocks they were holding were “magic rocks” – and that every time they looked at their rocks the rocks would remind them of how much I loved them. Today, when I run into former students, often the first thing they’ll tell me is that they still have their “magic rocks.” That always puts a grin on my face.
Rocks as big as skyscrapers that provide me with perfect handholds and footholds on rock-climbing adventures; flat, smooth-surfaced rocks perfect for skipping; boulders with great textures and patterns; and agates for my “magic rock” bowl – I appreciate the beauty of them all.
But before I saw the magnified pictures of the sand grains, I’d never really appreciated the beauty of these tiniest of rocks. My feet have probably tread over billions – maybe zillions! – of sand grains in my life – over-looking them as I looked for agates or skipping stones – never really seeing the smaller treasures that were right in front of my eyes. It boggles the mind.
And it makes me wonder what other treasures I’ve missed that were right in front of my eyes.
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
— William Blake
(All photos below by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)