The land around the Bossy Spa consists mostly of limestone bluffs, sandy fields, and creek and river basins. This part of central Texas was ocean bottom some 265 million years ago. The gulf of Mexico used to reach this far inland, and you can see evidence of our geologic past in the limestone, which is chock full of long extinct marine mollusks. If you look closely you can see a fossilized barnacle in the picture.
Limestone itself is formed in warm shallow ocean water, primarily from shells and coral. Finding little sea snail fossils in our local rock is so commonplace that residents pay no attention, yet every day nature serves us this reminder that big changes are capable of happening.
When I drive over the ridge into our valley, I am often struck by how the hills covered with scrub oak and mesquite and white-tailed deer once were coral reefs teeming with marine life. It doesn’t seem all that far fetched. The ridges are spaced like standing waves and it doesn’t take too much imagination to add water and a scuba suit.
Zooming out your perspective to think about the geologic timescale can free you from feeling stuck to having a sense of possibility. If you are focused on the particulars of daily living, and most of us are, take a moment to look up at the horizon. Stretch your body. Stretch your mind. What was happening here millions of years ago? Thousands of years ago? A hundred years ago? What will be happening here at intervals long into the future?
Thinking this way encourages us see our smallness, and when we are suffering, as so often is the case when we are dedicated to caring for another, smallness can be comforting. We are so small that there is only so much we can do. In another 265 million years central Texas may once again be under water, which helps me look at my list of tasks for today in a new way.
Are there clues in your environment that point you to think on a bigger time scale? Maybe you have old growth redwood forest with trees a thousand years old. Maybe you have a granite outcropping formed by an ancient volcanic eruption. Find something from in environment that causes you to think on a grander scale. Notice how that changes your perspective, and share if your insights might be helpful to others.