Romancing the Stone is a conversation between poems from the Romantic literary period and stones from my personal rock collection. These natural crystals and stones, while terrestrial, are transformed when the objects are placed in an extraterrestrial—or celestial—atmosphere. It is in this space that they may participate in the eternal Romantic dialogue that exists between humanity and Nature.
Romanticism is typically viewed as an emotion-centric artistic movement reacting to the cerebral ages of Reason and Enlightenment. In truth, the Romantics—especially the poets—integrated new scientific discoveries into their works, imbuing a sense of wonder at the scope of the universe and emphasizing the tiny position of Man and his foolish ego. In 1781, an amateur astronomer constructed a homemade telescope using a different lens for looking. His DIY approach resulted in the first new planetary discovery in over a thousand years and the planet Uranus was added to our understanding of the solar system.
The new “natural science” of geology also arose at this time, whereupon the study of rocks showed, for the first time, that our own planet is millions of years old rather than a few thousand, as was believed by the populace in accordance with Biblical doctrine. The discovery of our own deep history upturned what we felt we knew about ourselves and our place in time and space. The Romantics stood at this precipice of past and future, perpetually gazing…into the skies, into the Earth, and into the human soul.