Nothing Special

What’s special about these rocks?

On our trip to Utah a few years ago, our group leader recounted a conversation from one of her earlier trips. A participant asked the tour geologist what was special about the red rock formations they were seeing. That is, why had these bits survived and the surrounding rock not so much? Were they a different kind of rock? Had they been subjected to different erosion forces?

They’re not special.
They’re just what’s left.

Eventually even this vista before them would become red grit in the wind, red silt in the creeks, red sand underfoot. It just hadn’t had its turn yet.

Sedoan rock framed by cedar branchesView from Sedoan Airport mesa at sunset

Sometimes it’s all in how we frame the question. What’s different about these rocks?


What’s special about them?


Every day things change around me. Some passages I can see: the fading flower, the blooming grandkids. Some I cannot: the expansion of the universe, the evolution of life. And the erosion of the red rocks at Sedona.

I’m privileged to be able to stand where I can see what’s here. To see what’s left. None of it is different, but all of it is special.


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6 Responses to Nothing Special

  1. Tom Watson says:

    That’s beautiful.

  2. At first, I was shocked. There must be a different explanation. The given explanation seems too simple. But then, the best ones always are.

    Thank you for sharing, as always. You brighten many a crazy day!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – I know, it seems kinda counter-intuitive. And I believe that it isn’t a universal explanation. Some remaining outcroppings of rock *are* different from the surrounding rock that has eroded away. But some is just the same, and what remains.

  3. barbara says:

    Surely there is another meaning to this “nothing” and “everything” post. Are we eventually pared down to our essential selves by experiences, attitudes, reactions….? Discuss.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – 🙂 Sounds like an exam question. I wasn’t thinking of paring down so much as just that what’s special in our lives, in our world, isn’t special in the sense of “different.” It’s just all amazing when you actually look at it.

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