|Oysters on a desk-top - Digital Photo - 2014, DS|
"The co-evolutionary story between rocks and life began 4 billion years or so ago, when the planet had only rocks, air and oceans to work with. The origins researchers that followed Miller and Urey’s heady success soon realised that air and oceans aren’t enough to create life, no matter how lightning-filled the sky. Only with the addition of carefully selected minerals will simple, nonliving biomolecules concentrate and combine in complex biologically useful ways.
Life arose from minerals; then minerals arose from life. The geosphere and biosphere have become complexly intertwined, with numerous feedback loops driving myriad critical natural processes in ways that are only now coming into focus."
"Mr. Gerard further states: 'Just before crossing the boundary of Ludak into Bussalier, I was exceedingly gratified by the discovery of a bed of fossil oysters, clinging to a rock as if they had been alive.'
In whatever point of view we are to consider the subject, it is sublime to think of organic remains lying at such an extraordinary altitude, and of vast cliffs of rocks formed out of them, frowning over the illimitable and desolate waters, where oceans once rolled."
- from Shells on the Snowy Mountains of Tibet, Asiatic Register, found here.
"... the great power and human destinies are couched in the virtues of Stones and Herbs. But to know from whence these come, a higher speculation is required. Alexander the peripatetic, not going any further than his senses and qualities, is of the opinion that these proceed from Elements, and their qualities, which haply might be supposed to be true, if those were of the same species; but many of the operations of the Stones agree neither in genere nor specie. Therefore Plato and his scholars attribute these virtues to Ideas, the formers of things. But Avicen reduceth these kinds of operations to Intelligence, Hermes to the Stars, Albertus to the specifical forms of things.
...Now consequently we must discourse of Intelligences, spirits and Angels. An Intelligence is an intelligible substance, free from all gross and putrifying mass of a body, immortall, insensible, assisting all, having Influence over all; and the nature of all intelligences, spirits and Angels is the same. But I call Angels here, not those whom we usually call Devils, but spirits so called from the propriety of the word, as it were, knowing, understanding and wise."
- from De occulta philosophia libri tres (Three Books Concerning Occult Philosophy), 1530s, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa
As readers of this blog know, the moment summer arrives, one can often find a peculiar, solitary woman (me) roaming the sandbars on the Connecticut shoreline; every now and then bending down to pick up an object or two... possibly even talking to herself (or the objects) before placing them back down, or, resuming her search (if that's what it is), possibly still holding one prized object (carefully) in her sweaty little paw.
There are no "ordinary" objects at the shore... and some, like the one above (shown from various angles - click to enlarge) are to be celebrated. When I first found these three shells cemented* to a fragment of rock, however, I wasn't even sure what I'd found. Were they some form of barnacle? Had a human glued some shells onto a rock in such a pretty array?