Utah Rocks

Utah is rock: lots of naked, exposed rock. And, in the land of naked geology, rock shops grow like weeds. They come in all shapes and sizes: big, small, fancy, or like one in Orderville, Utah,  unassuming and modest. In a lean-to and shed at the edge of town sit Joe’s Rock Shop, proudly in business since the 1952.

On the shoulder of the road a sign declares “Septarian Nodules.” On the highway, traffic is slow, baked up with RVs and tourists sightseeing and “doing” Zyce National Parks (it’s my term for Zion & Bryce NPs that are separated only by an hour of driving.) So, the traffic, not the sign, not curiosity about Septarian Nodules, cued me to shout at Mr Mudlips, “Pulloverpullover! Stop!”

As I wandered through the chain link gate into the display yard, I had no idea I would leave with a septarian nodules. Despite ace-ing my geology classes (eh-hem 30 years ago)  the term was meaningless to me. Meaningless, no more.

I politely browsed along the piles of local rock,all sold by the pound: sandstone, obsidian, quartz. There among the familiar rocks was a pile of ungainly muddy-looking boulders. Just like crude cannonballs, they did not impress me. But, then, I knew not what I gazed upon.

About to play the time-to-go card, I wandered into the lean-to drawn by some lovely polished rose quartz. Then I got it. I understood the attraction of a septarian nodule. And postponed my exit.

You see, inside that plain stone exterior a brilliant surprise awaits. Septarian nodules come in many varieties. Usually, they are some sort of mudstone or shale with a crystalline interior. The cut and polished version attracted me, body and soul. I picked one up and felt magic. My heart-felt warm, my spirit complete.

I decided to buy one. And so I did, and I’ve not regretted it. I’m glad too, that it was Joe’s Rock shop that pulled me over. The owner Ken Caruso (Joe’s son), grew up with this family owned business. He dug nodules from an early young age and earned the cash for his first car at the mine three miles away. He pridefully explained to me the process of hand-cutting and polishing the nodule I’d selected. That pride added more value to an already cherished stone.

I’ve returned home where everything is different from the red desert land of rocks but this gem still has the feel of electricity and magic and love.  So I keep it near.


Septarian nodules