“I speak of the stones that were always sleeping out of doors or in their lairs and the night of veins. No tool were they ever familiar with but those that were used to disclose them : the cleaving hammer so as to expose their latent geometry, the buffing-wheel so as to show their grain or brighten their faded colours. What they were, they still are, although they sometimes have gained in freshness and legibility, without prejudicing their authenticity : themselves and none else (…) I speak of stark stones, fascination and glory, in which a mystery –slower, vaster, graver that the destiny of a passing species- both hides and surrenders.
I speak of stones older than life and that survive it on planets grown cold, when they were fortunate enough to blossom out there. I speak of stones that do not even have to wait for death and that are endlessly busy letting sand, showers or undertow, storms, time slide on their surface. Man envies them their lives on bare boards, their hardness, their uncompromisingness and their brightness, their smoothness and imperviousness, and entirety and even the broken pieces of them. They are fire and water in the same immortal transparency.
As one, who speaking of flowers, would leave aside botany as well as the arts of garden designing and flower arranging, I, in my turn, neglecting mineralogy, discarding gem-using arts, speak of stark stones, fascination and glory, in which a mystery –slower, vaster, graver than the destiny of a passing species- both hides and surrenders.”
(By Roger Caillois, in Pierres/Stones)
Translated by Michèle Bustros)