This morning I was getting my lazy butt back into the swing of cycling when I noticed a chunk of rock sliding down a hillside next to the road. It was a fist-sized chunk, and did not threaten to strike me, but it focused my attention on something I seldom consider, the geologic time scale.
Rocks like this scatter alongside the roads in our Los Angeles suburb, but I seldom witness their motion, and I can think of a single instance where I noticed their displacement after the fact.
My son, daughter and I used to take hikes along a sinuous trail leading down from bluffs overlooking the ocean, which involved both rock-hopping and navigating some precariously balanced boulders at the edge of the shore to reach an area that we scoured in search of fossils.
We did this regularly for years, to the point where we grew oblivious to the presence of the boulders.
Then one day, hiking the trail alone, I noticed something akin to finding a wall of your bedroom suddenly missing: one of the boulders had tipped over and rolled.
It stunned me to bear witness to a moment of geologic transformation.
I mention this because last night I threw a (homely, intimate) bachelor party for that Peter Pan friend, the boy we all thought might never grow up. Our trio has known one another since birth thanks to enduring friendships among our mothers, and our shared history binds us despite different adult personalities in varying stages and widely divergent experiences of life's bitter and sweet elements.
Witnessing that final friend commit to marriage (with what seems like a terrific partner) felt a little like the sudden awareness of a boulder moving - a fixture I'd taken for granted had shifted dramatically.
I'm still recalibrating.