Meanwhile the tree of life goes on putting out branches. A multitude of new inscriptions is added to the writing in stones. Images of fishes swim among dendrites of manganese as though among clumps of moss. A sea lily sways on its stem in the heart of a piece of slate. A phantom shrimp can no longer feel the air with its broken antennae. The scrolls and laces of ferns are imprinted in coal. Ammonites of all sizes, from a lentil to a millwheel, flaunt their cosmic spirals everywhere. A fossil trunk, turned jasper and opal like a frozen fire, clothes itself in scarlet, purple, violet. Dinosaurs' bones change their petit-point tapestries into ivory, gleaming pink or blue like sugared almonds.
caillois/ the writing of stones
warner on caillois Roger Caillois among the Nonhumans
Their sole desire was to become solid -- as solid and perdurable as the rocks about them. They therefore practiced the rites of petrifaction. When the hated breath at last left the human body, that body was carried to special caves, and there laid in troughs filled with the petrous water that dripped from roof and walls. There it remained until the body turned white and hard, until the eyes were glazed under their vitreous lids, and the hair of the head became like crisp snail-shells, the beard like a few jagged icicles. But this process was merely a long purgatory, for when the body was finally petrified it was removed from its watery trough and carried like a recumbent statue to the halls of the dead -- caves in which the alabaster bodies were stacked, one above the other in dense rows, to wait for their final beatitude, crystallisation. When the body, no longer recognisably human, but rather a pillar of salt, took on the mathematical precision and perfect structure of crystal, then it was judged to have attained its final immortality.
herbert read / the green child /