The first road trip souvenir Kate and I bought was a piece of petrified wood, which to this day, hangs in the house.
At the time, we were quite broke, and thrilled to have a little sliver of this fascinating material. When I was a child, I lived in Winslow, Arizona for six months; until my family revolted and told my Father he had to get us out of the dessert, we moved to Bell, California. But while we lived in Arizona, my Father did one of the things he did best, he took us site seeing!
Between the movies and the cowboy novels he read, my Father loved the “old west” and he loved showing us the sites. Thus we toured Old Tucson and the Painted Dessert, visited several reservations and of course the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest. I remember falling and getting a piece of petrified wood stuck in my leg, at the National Park; I have always been a klutz. My Mother could not get the wood, which feels and looks like stone, out of my leg; thus she mixed a compress of lard and baking soda, which she put over the piece of wood, wrapped my leg and told me to trust her. The next day, she unwrapped my leg, put the tiniest bit of pressure around the “wound” and out popped the splinter! I was so impressed, I could not believe it!
Anyway, when Kate and I left Ohio, in 1987, driving to California, our only stop was in Flagstaff, Arizona, where we were actually robbed, in our hotel; nevertheless, Arizona has held a special place in my life and in hers. Our go to vacation, when we lived in Long Beach, California, and the giant, plastic, Coke bottle bank would have enough money for gas and a hotel, was Motel 6, in Mesa, Arizona.
I would say my post about Nature has gotten away from me a bit; but I am not entirely sorry. To return to topic, petrified wood is literally wood that has become stone; and while in the states we think of it almost exclusively as being in our National Park, it can be found in various other states and in fact all over the world, and it is worth looking for!
“Petrified wood (from the Latin root petro meaning “rock” or “stone”; literally “wood turned into stone”) is the name given to a special type of fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation. It is the result of a tree or tree-like plants having completely transitioned to stone by the process of permineralization. All the organic materials have been replaced with minerals (mostly a silicate, such as quartz), while retaining the original structure of the stem tissue. Unlike other types of fossils which are typically impressions or compressions, petrified wood is a three-dimensional representation of the original organic material.”