This past weekend I was in southern West Virginia, for my grandmother’s memorial service. My grandmother lived in a golf course community called Glade Springs. It’s a very manicured place and not to my taste, but on the edge of this community are woods. Walk into the woods and soon you come to a precipice. Find a way down and at the bottom of the gorge you’ll discover Glade Creek.
Whenever I visited my grandmother, I spent most of my free time down by this creek. As a child, I hunted salamanders here, discovering a different variety under every rock. These days, I overturn dozens of stones and find nothing. Upstream is coal-mining country and in my 30-year lifetime, this creek has changed.
My favorite spot along Glade Creek is a giant quartzite boulder an hour-long hike from my grandmother’s place. The boulder is huge and smooth and sits in the sun above a cool little swimming spot. This is one of my favorite sitting spots on Earth:
Two winters ago, when we were here for Christmas, I took my family for a hike to visit the boulder. Glade Creek is never more beautiful than in the snow.
I wonder how long this boulder has sat here in this creek, when it crashed down from the ridge above, what kind of sound it made when it fell and how long it’ll stay here.
My grandmother passed away at a feisty 91. If I live as long as she did and have the wherewithal to visit this boulder a half-century from now, I bet the woods and the creek and the world outside the gorge will have changed, but that this boulder will still be exactly the same.
Check out another previous boulder post: My Favorite Rock.