CATEGORY: PORT TOWNSEND
It is now 10:00PM on the second day of September 1979, and it has been a day of excitement, a day of thrills. In fact I may never recover. I really must write it all out and I hope it won’t disappoint when I say that today’s excitement was rocks. And not the kind that most women would find exciting either. I mean not the kind one might wear dripping from fingers, neck, ears, wrist. No, not rubies or emeralds or diamonds, or even agates or thunder eggs, but just plain old basalt. But then again, not just a little ordinary sized chunk of basalt either, but a great HUGE big-as-your-fat-Aunt-Minnie-riding-on-an-elephant sized basalt.
Would you like a really gigantic rock for your back yard or for landscaping a pent house roof garden? Well, back your car right up here and my quary friends will load it on top. It will only cost you about $10.00 and they will give you top book for what is left of your car.
The story goes like this: This morning I got outta bed, put on my goin’ outta’ town clothes–spiffy shirt, clean pants–fluffed up ma hayar–a little polish, a little paint, a little oil for the old hinges, a few lo-o-o-ong strokes of my leather soles on the nylon carpet to get my battery charged, and off I went to Marrowstone Island to meet Alma Taylor, a lively elderly client for whom I am doing a landscape design.
She in turn transported me in a gleaming light gray Cadillac with nifty white sidewalls and smoky blue plush, plumped and padded upholstery. Where? To a place called Mats Mats Quarry. Purpose: TO GO ROCK SHOPPING! Mats Mats, incidentally is an area schooched up against the north end of Puget Sound between Port Townsend and Port Ludlow, named after the Indians who used to inhabit it. Mats Mats, like Walla Walla, was an Indian name meaning twice as much as one Mats or one Walla.
We were looking for what to me had been a pie-in-the-sky day dream that materialized as a suggestion in real words out of my very own mouth as if anybody could do it, namely: a really large, sort of flattish rock, low enough to sit on, big enough to be in scale with a sprawling giant madrona tree we knew, AND with a depression in the top that would hold water for reflections and alternately serve as a bath for birds complete with chickadee-sized back brush and sponge.
I knew when I first expressed this idea to Alma that I was blowing wistful smoke rings–longing for my architectural model making days when, with the two bare fingers of my good right hand, I could place a giant rock, scale: 1 inch = 20 feet, any place I wanted. But Alma didn’t know I was 90% dreaming so she promptly called a neighbor who just happened to have, right there on their fairly isolated island, a super sized dump truck, not to mention a loader (one of those big mutation frogs on rollers that is all mouth and teeth—actually, a cross between a rolling frog and a bulldog) and who said YES he could indeed transport and put in place one very large rock. And he knew where to get it too. “Mats Mats” he said, at the risk of repeating himself.
So there we were at the Mats Mats quarry. I shuddered into deeper shock waves of drifting smoke as my gray-haired friend went even further in the process of taking me at my word. Blithely and in all innocence, she started describing to the big burley quarry man who came to meet us, the kind of rock we wanted: “one with some character, you see, and a place to sit and a depression to hold water in the top–for the birds you know.” I gulped and looked around for a rock to hide under.
But our quarry man didn’t even so much as choke. He simply loaded us in his truck and took us to out to the rock breeding grounds and turned us loose. How surprising to find yourself in a whole acre of rocks big enough to squish a whale, with the hand of God patting your head and the voice of God saying TAKE YOUR PICK.
First, being practical, we looked around the edges. Even Alma’s miracle friend with his miracle loader had to be able to get AT the thing. We knew that much. But soon we were scrambling up and over and around and under. I mean it was such a delightful place to shop–plenty of free parking and all. And then, clear in the back where no loader could ever reach it, scrunched under another sleeping hippo sized megalith–well, there it was: the culmination of my pipe dream, the little-old-lady find of the year. Yes, the perfect rock, lying on its back with just the right sized cleft in its chin, and with–guess what:—-WATER! Built-in water! Free! Bonus day!
Ah yes, dream away: a pinned down, buried impossibility. We went back to the edges. The nice man came back. He casually asked if we would like him to get one out where we could see it better.
I aroused myself from deep contemplation about the building of the pyramids. His words seemed to ooze their way up my spine. I turned around. I looked at this man thoroughly. About this high he was–about soo wide–dark hair. He seemed to have teeth and fingernails–two ears. His skin looked real. He had a nose and all that. I opened my mouth. My voice came from somewhere over a far hill. I said hesitantly, reluctantly, “wel-l-l–er–well, we did find one–a PERFECT one, but it was–well, you’d never get it out. Its way back there, and its underneath …….” He asked to see it. I showed him, sadly. The smoke was burning my eyes.
That is probably why I imagined that he winked at me. He shouted something to somebody; a truck roared off. And then as slow-quick and smooth as a greased world, around the corner came a great big, sure-as-chugging CRANE. And just like a red weasel on a greased world, out came a long, thin, sinuous ar-r-rm. And before I could even think, Help! Red Weasels! it had moved the hippo, chained up “our” rock and had it dangling from the weasel’s wrist like a gold nugget on a chain with the water still in situ; and the man was grinning and saying “Where do you want it”? Furthermore, since their rock was sold by the pound, it only cost $12.00.
So Alma led me carefully, because I had a tendency to stumble, back to the silver streak Cadillac, hopped sprightly in beside me and tootled back to her island and over to her friendly truck man. And he said, Yessir Ma-am, and rev-v-ved up his super size truck and tootled, whistled, roared, etc. right over and got it–all 3000 pounds of it–from where it was still hanging from its chain waiting for us. And as a final sly touch from the magic wand wavers of the day, when the loader moved our precious piece of basalt off the truck and into place in Alma’s garden, the original water was STILL there! How could that have been possible? It pays to know God Herself.
Do you want a very large rock, say maybe with a rough likeness of Chief Crazy Horse, say riding his crazy horse with the horse winking his left eye? Or maybe a rough likeness of George Washington kissing the farmer’s daughter, with George winking his left eye? Well, I can get it for you! Just back your car right up here———————-
I mean, ya wanna go rock shopping ???