It sits on the side of the curvy highway, a huge grey boulder, seeming to be a permanent landmark of this highway. As large as it is, you figure it's been there for centuries. Or perhaps it's a small flat stone in the driveway of your yard. You wonder where it came from and how old it is. These rocks are both of different sizes and varieties but both produce curiosity.
The rock is an amazing natural formation. From the wonder of Stonehenge to beauty of the rocky cliffs of the New England coast, humans have always been fascinated by the stones. What forms this rock? How old are they? In fact, the rock is just a naturally occurring item on Earth, just a solid formation of minerals. The land portion of Earth is made of rock, layers and layers of rock. Certainly rock is a part of the naturally occurring land, but we humans have taken it and used it to suit our own purposes too, as versatile as rock is. And, not surprisingly with the eco-movement of today, we use rocks and stones for a variety of purposes in everyday life.
One of the most common uses is just for its beauty or aesthetic value. Many architects use designer rocks on the sides of houses and buildings. Instead of brick, rock is becoming popular to line a doorway or the bottom half of a house. Additionally, large, flat rocks are often used as the facing on fireplaces or to form mantles in new homes.
And certainly rocks are used in landscaping. Some occur naturally and the homeowners work around the large rocks in their yards to form flower gardens. But often the rocks are purchased and used to form edges around flowerbeds, to be paving stones on a path, and to just be decorative pieces in the yard or garden. Rocks are even used to make benches and tables.
But the smaller version or cousin of the rock, the stone is also used for a variety of purposes. You can purchase a bag of river rocks at just about any department or home improvement store. Decorative minds use those river rocks to line a plate and then place candles in the plate. Creative folks sometimes put the rocks in a clear vase and then add water and flowers. River rocks can be used for a variety of decorating purposes around the house.
But those smaller, flatter river rocks can also be used for other purposes. One type of river rock is often used in the hot stone massage. Massage stones, as these are called, are just a specific version of the flat stone designed to hold heat. The stones are heated by a massage therapist and used in the massage.
Other useful purposes of stones are to line the bottoms of aquariums. The stones act as a natural filter, allowing the solid waste to settle to the bottom of the aquarium and then be cleaned out.
Stones, rocks, boulders, whatever you call these aggregations of minerals, are amazing formations of nature. We humans find many aesthetic and useful purposes for the stones, too.