Every one of my favorite yoga studios has a different view outside their windows. My downtown studio shows passersby going about their lives – which is neat in a way, since you realize how you have hit your own personal pause button.
But it’s hard to beat the view outside another of my favorites, Main St. Yoga, which is on the top floor of a building in the historic main st in Ellicott City, MD. Your glance outside there will show you not only the pretty old houses and shops, but also something far more ancient in nature.
It’s an old rock. A very old rock. A very old, very big rock.
In fact, this big old rock is part of a larger structure called a granodiorite, or a coarse-grained rock made from cooled magma from under the Earth’s surface. For this reason it’s called plutonic rock, or rock coming from the Greek god Pluto’s underworld.
It was formed 460 million years ago during a mountain-building phase called the wonderfully named Taconic Orogeny – if there is a name of an era that sounds more sci-fi than that, I’d like to hear it. See here for more. Even better, that was during the geologic “Silurian” era – who knew Silurian was both a real life era and a Doctor Who dinosaur-type humanoid?
This particular granodiorite is largely made of quartz, the white/gray plagioclase, and the black mica mineral biotite, but also inclues the green mineral epidote. It wraps all around the town of Ellicott City and extends into surrounding areas, but forms outcroppings including one that sits right next to the sidewalk in town.
And so somehow it has come to pass that these glittering substances, made from the inside of our planet near the dawn of time, sit mere feet from children with ice cream cones, couples on dates, and me on my yoga mat.
It does give you some perspective.
This granodiorite has seen so much. From its point of view, the area is really a thriving lush forest-or at least it was until just a moment ago, when humans arrived and changed it all. Since humans built the town, the rock has seen it change from servicing a mill to catering to tourists. Along the way the area has suffered numerous disastrous floods – the most recent being only last year in 2016. And all through the devastation and the rebuilding, through the crowded days and the quiet nights, the grandiorite has sat.
Looking out at the Ellicott City granodiorite from the yoga studio, you remember your sense of scale. You feel that you are just a little being in your little life, taking a moment to yourself outside of society’s chaos. And in the end, the grandiorite is just a rock. But it’s a rock formed from a mysterious, dark place and time we could only begin to imagine. It has time traveled through millennia, through majestic times and mundane times. It encompasses in its heart the history of the planet we call home.
If this beautiful, old rock can seem so simple and yet reach such impenetrable depths, then your beautiful, young self can be so much more than you think. Looking out the window of your studio (or wherever) can let you see inside yourself – and start to explore the glittery, enigmatic world within.