I found this rock at a thrift store in Boone, NC.
It cost a dollar. I was on the lookout for something to use as a “talking piece” when I do a circle. That is the thing that you hold while you talk, and everybody has to listen. Then you hand it to the next person.
But I also like cool rocks. I have a collection of rocks from all over.
I was wondering what could have caused these holes. Erosion? Animals?
I Googled “rock with holes” and came up with the most likely option so far – pholad boring.
“Pholads are small bivalves that bore holes into shore rocks a few centimeters across, living their lives inside that shelter and sticking their siphuncles out to filter the seawater. If you’re at a rocky shore, or if you suspect that a rock has once been there, then look for these biological holes, a type of organic weathering. Other marine creatures make marks in rocks too, but the real holes generally belong to pholads.” (From the article “11 Types of Holes in Rocks” on the Geology section of About.com)
These pholads are known as “angelwings” because of the shape of their shell.
Here are some pictures from that article.
Then this started a whole line of thinking. The rocks themselves are made of limestone, which is, in itself, derived from other sea creatures’ shells. Many animals with shells lived and died, and their shells degraded and got compressed together and shaped into a rock. So these modern shelled creatures are actually living inside the remains of other shelled creatures, which are many many years distantly dead.
Also, I find it interesting that these creatures have a shelled body, but they feel the need to dig a hole into a rock for even more protection. They never leave this hole. They live their lives here. Reminds me of some people I know. They’ve traded in safety for boring.
But, back to the rock with holes.
This is known as “bioturbation.” It happens any time a living creature disturbs soil. Sea creatures do it, insects do it, animals do it – including humans.
Back to the About.com article – “One of the agents of organic weathering, bioturbation is the disturbance of the soil or sediment by living things. It may include displacing soil by plant roots, digging by burrowing animals (such as ants or rodents), pushing sediment aside (such as in animal tracks), or eating and excreting sediment, as earthworms do. Bioturbation aids the penetration of air and water and loosens sediment to promote winnowing or washing.”
Cool, right? And I just thought it looked like a potato with the “eyes” cut out. I’d seen rocks with these kinds of holes before but never knew how to look it up. I’m so glad that a search term as simple as “rock with holes” was enough to get me on the right track.
Later I was playing with it and found out that the holes can be used in a flute-like manner. Yes, this means I can play my rock. More importantly, it means that I tried to play it.
I’m glad I’ve gotten back to the state of being a child.
I have learned that rocks with holes all the way through are sometimes known as “Hag stones”. From the Etsy shop “SeaMadeDesigns” – – “Hag stones, in folk magic systems, these are often believed to ward off the dead, curses, witches, sickness, and nightmares. They are also used as windows or doorways to see ‘otherworlds’, invisible spirits, or how a being ‘really’ looks beyond their physical image. They have always been deemed a rare and treasured stone.” The item description also refers to them as healing stone, Odin stone, adder stone, fairy stone, alter stone