A Tour of the Denver Basin
for Dr. Bob Raynolds
At the brick quarry near Parker,
Paleosol rises to the surface: Ancient soil.
Ocher and red. So old geologists can only
explain by saying it’s corroded earth.
Potters clamor for it: What it will be best for?
Cups and plates? Decorative items?
Miles from its origin, a turquoise pebble
the size of a raindrop has come to rest near
Daniels Park. Embedded, it proves the Earth
in time we must imagine.
Two grains of sand rest side by side: quartz
crystals. Like the eye of a god, an electron
microscope reveals the sculpting of erosion
and millennia. One rounded on the beach of
Time. One squared-off as a marine’s shoulders,
blown out of a now-cold volcano in Elbert County.
In Douglas County, a drilling rig pounds out its
never-ending plea for water. We stop to ask;
the supervisor answers, “more than 1400 feet now.”
Poets and geologists have much in common. Standing
level with that turquoise teardrop, looking east, we can
see there was once no basin. That we could have walked
straight east to Castle Rock across the mountains. Every day,
we walk, drive, live—atop an ancient lake bed. Dig down
anywhere, you’ll strike the bones of those extinct.
Photo credit: Hoggs555, Wikimedia Creative Commons