|Low tide at the Booth Bay tidal flats on Saltspring Island reveals a stunning variety of rocks.|
|This rock, reminiscent of an ancient carving, prompted me to start looking around at what else was on the beach.|
It was a rock that looked like a disintegrating Greek carving that opened my eyes to what else lay beneath my feet on a stretch of Saltspring Island beach this week. It's a special beach, open to both the rough waters of Samsun Narrows and to the gentle forces of the Booth Bay tidal flat, which at high tide resembles the ocean and at low tide turns into meandering streams too shallow for tiny rowboats.
I don't know whether it is this combination of ocean forces that is responsible, but what's left on the beach is remarkable: All shapes and colours of rocks, carved by nature into an art museum's worth of patterns and designs.
Some have horizontal and vertical lines so straight they could have been traced by a ruler; some are as curvy as the rivulets of water that must ride over them. There are pincushion rocks riddled with tiny deep holes, and rocks with depressions so deep you could put your fist in. There are rocks divided geometrically into inch-square segments that could be an intricate piece of kitchen tiling. There are rocks with overlays of filmy tracery, like lace over a fancy dress. There are rocks that look like a master carver had a go at them centuries ago, before time smoothed the sharp edges. Most of the rocks are shades of grey, but then, suddenly, a blue rock, a red rock, a white one, and rocks the colour of sand.
It's the differences that make this rock-collection discovery so delightful. A reminder of the value of all of our variety, and how we need not just straight-line geometric patterns, but curvy lines and ripples, and even filmy lace to make the world go 'round.
|Straight lines, fissures and a few round holes create a fine pattern.|
|By contrast, hardly a straight line in the bunch. This could be a cracked windshield or an ancient face.|
|The top of this rock was all curves and ripples, as if the wavelets running over it had inscribed themselves in the stone.|
|In the middle of grey tones, suddenly, a blue rock.|
|A red rock and a bluish-white one sit near each other.|
|A rock the colour of sand, with graceful swirling lines inscribed in it.|
|This was a white rock with a blob of blue, and a pattern of delicately traced holes being carved out of the stone.|
|This was my favourite of all the rocks. It looked like a layer of lace had been delicately sculpted over the underlying stone.|
|A "pincushion" rock, a multitude of tiny holes.|
|By contrast, this rock had holes big enough to collect seaweed and other detritus in.|
|This is part of the cliff face along the beach. It consists of a multitude of tiny squares, broken off along the top edge.|
|A close-up of the tile-like rockface, divided into inch-square segments.|
|The top of this rock was eaten away into sculptured holes; the bottom was still intact.|
|A typical fine big rock on the beach.|
|The top of this rock had been eaten away to create a hat-like effect.|
|An example of the geometric squares typical of many of the rocks on this beach.|
|This is how low the tide gets along the Booth Bay tidal flat beach. There are many beautiful homes along the bay.|
|The beach where all the rocks are formed. You never know what might be under your feet!|