"Have you ever seen anything like that?"
It sounded like the opening gambit of an Indiana Jones adventure where the camera slowly pans and then zooms in on some object so exotic it could only be the film's MacGuffin.
But the line was not Sydney Greenstreet's. It was my friend Gary. He slowly shoved a rock about the size of a salad plate across the table.
It looked like -- well, a rock. The only thing that elevated it from that pedestrian description was the "design" that covered it on all sides. A design that seemed repetitive while each section seemed unique. Almost like elven runes telling a tale of legends long lost.
I had to admit I had never seen anything exactly like it. But the "design," if that is what it was, piqued my interest as a low-grade hobbyist geologist and archaeologist, as well as a world-class busybody.
My first impression was that it was simply a garden-variety igneous rock that had been mixed with minerals or some other pollutants in the cooling process. Under that hypothesis, there would have been nothing remarkable about the "design."
The "designs" would have not been designs at all. Merely chemical reactions in a natural cooling process. (Of course, the same could be said of diamonds, I suppose.)
A second possibility was that the dark circles were some form of primitive fossils -- sea shells, perhaps. But that was not likely. Fossilized plants and animals usually present themselves in obverse and reverse portraits. The circles were far too uniform.
That left a third possibility -- that the circles were not geological. They were designed by human hands.
The stone was discovered in a river in the hills up toward La Huerta. There are other petroglyphs up there left by the nomadic tribes that crossed the highlands. The stone could be cousin to the others that have been discovered there. That would also explain why the entire surface -- even the edges -- is covered with designs.
Now, it is your opportunity to shine. I realize you are suffering a handicap. You have not held the stone in your hands. But I would really like to hear your opinion.
Is the stone:
1) Just an igneous rock with mineral and chemical imperfections?
2) A rock with fossils of indeterminate origin?
3) An ancient Tom Thomson art project?
4) Some other far-more-rational explanation that has eluded me?
So, have it. I am packing my carryon for tomorrow's flight that will eventually dump me in Puerto Rico.
Rock on -- so to speak.