rocks

Posted by Ellen

Last month, Hank joined a group of Montanans climbing in the Andes, summiting above 18,000 feet in the middle of the Peruvian winter. They were closer to the Milky Way up there.

Posted by Ellen

Looks like yesterday's g'mornin was one silly mess: wrong boy, and even wrong uncle.

This picture shows the real Hank Stein atop the twisted chimney at Ancient Art near Moab, Utah. Yesterday's picture was of some other somebody.

And the uncle who gave him a sort of shout out on Facebook–"Get down from there this instant!" That was his Uncle Rich. Yesterday's posting attributed those immortal words to some other uncle.

Apologies all around.

Posted by Ellen

It must have been Oscar Wilde who said that you could never be overdressed or overeducated. In fact, he may be saying it just now, as he contemplates the world outside his childhood home in Dublin's Merrion Square, dressed to the nines from the neck down and wearing a becoming shade of snark across his face.

Sculptor Danny Osborne was as much prospector as artist for this project. He found the jade for Wilde's smoking jacket in extreme northern British Columbia, near the Yukon border. The pink collar and cuffs are from manganese-rich veins of zoisite in Norwegian shale.

The shimmery trousers are larkivite, also from Norway, a coarse-grained rock rich in anorthoclase feldspar, mined in Oslo Fjord. The well-polished shoes are black charnockite, from southern India; they get their shine from a distinctive kind of pyroxene known as hypersthene.

The 35-ton boulder that Wilde lounges on is Irish, but it's not in situ; Osborne found it in the Wicklow Mountains outside of Dublin.

The statue was sponsored by the Guinness Ireland Group and dedicated in 1997, ninety-seven years after Wilde's death at age 46.

It seemed appropriate, even necessary, to end this posting with a Wildeism. Settling on a single passage, however, proved ridiculously difficult, and it is certainly unfair to the man to reduce him to well-dressed witticism. But this line may do as well as any: "Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future."

Or this: "Being natural is simply a pose."

Posted by Ellen

A taxi driver on the Greek island of Ikaria made himself a life-sized stone taxi on the wall outside his house.

Posted by Ellen

The Painted Mountains in Death Valley, California.

Posted by Ellen

In August 2004, during a family gathering on Peaks Island, Maine, to celebrate my father's eightieth birthday, some of the grandchildren spent many hours doing stuff with the rocks on the beach. Here we see Ted, Hank, Allen, Joe, and their cousin Nick.

If I remember correctly, shortly after this picture was taken, something catastrophic happened to the structure. The catastrophe was great fun for some of the boys, but not so much fun for Hank, who felt compelled to devote more hours to "fixing" it.

Posted by Ellen

Two winters ago around this time, when this picture was snapped, there was no snow along the southwest coast of Maine, though somehow the color of the water suggested some seriously shivery cold. This year, I understand that there's a bit of snow on the ground in Maine; here in Philadelphia, however, we've had only a flurry or two. It's raining as I type.

This stretch of cliff near Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, faces south more than east, allowing a glimpse of winter sunset over the water.

Posted by Ellen

On a crisp October Saturday, deep in the Loyalsock Canyon of World's End State Park, you have to wait on line for your turn to take pictures of the waterfalls.

Ordinarily, creeks and waterfalls have shriveled to a trivial trickle by this time of year. But after a wet, wet summer and then the floods of Hurricane Irene, waterways throughout Pennsylvania are putting on a show.

Posted by Ellen

Appropriately enough, what you can see from the top of Castle Rock, just outside World's End State Park in the Endless Mountains of Sullivan County, Pennsylvania, are endless trees and endless mountains. Way down below is a tributary of Loyalsock Creek, which spills heedlessly over waterfall after waterfall en route to the west fork of the Susquehanna.

It is definitely the time of year to wear bright orange in these woods.

Posted by Ellen

At the University of Montana, students can earn academic credit for assignments like this. Hank got an A last semester in Intermediate Rock Climbing.