I sit here in the center of Yellowstone National park with an amazing view south. I envy the Tetons, such youngsters and still growing and rising into the sky. I remember the extreme heat that gave me form but wonder about the caldera below and the timetable for its next explosion.
I ponder my brothers and sisters north in Specimen Ridge and east in the Absaroka Mountains. I’m in awe of my nieces and nephews, the columnar basalt standing tall along the Yellowstone River at Tower.
The explosion that planted me here is much older. The Absaroka volcanics spewed rock and ash, witnessed ash flows and lava flows through intense fury and extreme heat. Half my home, known as Mt. Washburn, fell into the caldera, but the remaining half stands tall reaching over 10,000 feet into the clouds and ever-changing sky.
I’ve seen 45 million years of heat, ice, compression, water, and erosion, but not near as much as my ancient ancestors, the 4,700 million year old granitic gneiss still gracing the landscapes and canyons to my north. Today my edges offer homes to colorful lichens and flowery plants. Humans, so very new on the landscape, rest on my flatter surfaces and comment on my makeup; the whites, pinks and freckled rocks all found within me. I’m a volcanic conglomerate–45 millions years old and still here to tell the tales of glaciers, volcanoes, and time.