On the lawn in front of the Coles Building just around the corner from our house is a collection of rocks. Or more properly boulders. There is one from each province in Canada, and a little brass plaque in the ground in front of each identifies their province and geological name.
I know nothing of the history of this endeavour, but it’s always struck me as a nice, simple idea. Of course as the son of a geologist, I am somewhat biased in this regard. But still, in the Nintendo age, a group of 10 boulders is, well, grounding.
Now it used to be that there was a very nice pathway that wended through the boulder garden. It was one of those very pleasant pathways made of a very pleasing material that wasn’t a “point A to point B” kind of path by rather a “take you on a tour of the boulders” kind of path. Because the route from our house to the coffee shop and Radio Shack and various other important institutions cuts through the boulder garden, I was a frequent visitor. And, of course, I took my father there several times for a sort of “cook’s tour” of the rocks.
Last fall, however, just in advance of the dreaded light orgy being inflicted on the downtown area, a bunch of Parks Canada workers showed up one day and began to rip up the pleasant pathway. In the space of a couple of days it was completely gone — sod was laid in its place — and replaced by a new “I-95” sort of pathway that is very “point A to point B.”
Thankfully the boulders themselves were left in place. However without a pleasant pathway, they are marooned in a sea of green grass. They are no longer a collection.
Why was this done?
Well, at least on the surface, it appears that it was simply to allow for the expansion of the aforementioned light glut. Specfically to provide room for for section of the light show that
features beloved children’s nursery rhyme character Little Bo-peep being chased by a traditional Island elk pulling a wild-west stagecoach.
Given that the pastoral area in front of the Coles Building was, well, just home to the rocks pre-illumination, and given that it is now an important link on the orgy train, I can think of no other logical explanation for the change. Little Bo-peep has trumped geology.
If we can take any consolation from this at all, it is that planted squarely in front of Ms. Peep is a large chunk of Ontario gneiss.
As I see the story playing out, the marauding wild wagon, pulled by the irritated and thus bucking elk, is about to trample Little Bo-beep, as her way is impeded by a hulking boulder from Ontario. Beep survives the ordeal, of course, but emerges from her recovery some months later to open a small petting zoo on the outskirts of town with the elk as a featured attraction. She never returns to downtown Charlottetown. The gneiss, on the other hand, does what it’s always done: it just sits there.
Unfortunately, that’s the only comfort I have.