Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Petoskey stone

My Dad was here for a week and we spent our time organizing and consolidating my files. But the first day of his visit, we went through my keepsakes. I sent some home with him, set some aside for my Mom, mailed some to my sister, and found a few more treasures I wanted to add to the cabinet in my room. When my friend Sue came by yesterday, I showed her that Dad and I had reorganized the display and pointed out a small polished stone in the front. As I reminisced about receiving it from our neighbor Mr. Lanach when I was small child, Sue picked it up and held it in her hand. "That's a Petoskey stone," she said, thereby identifying the mysterious stone that had been in my possession for more than 40 years! Petoskey stones (IMAGE ABOVE) are fragments of a coral reef that was originally deposited during the Devonian period. Glaciers plucked the stones from the bedrock, ground off their rough edges, and deposited them on the shores of Lake Michigan. The movement of the lake ice during the winters exposes new Petoskey stones at the water's edge each spring. Like the one I have, they are often polished to bring out the distinctive mottled pattern of the six-sided coral (Hexagonaria percarinata). The name of the stones – and that of the city of Petoskey, Michigan - comes from Ottawa Indian Chief Petosegay, whose mother named him after the rays of sun that fell upon his newborn face. The word means "rising sun," "rays of dawn," or "sunbeams of promise."

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