Symbolism aside, Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick hit the nail on the head when they portrayed man's fascination with the enigmatic monolith, and I'm reminded of this each time I visit Garden of the Gods Park, just outside Colorado Springs, Colorado. These are the bold remains of a mountain range that existed before the one of the present day (the Sangre de Cristo), and act as a static reminder of the constant flux of the earth.
Many people find shorelines or mountaintops to be their terrestrial centering-places—areas for spiritual encounter and self-realization—and I'm no less averse to those points on the map. But the violence found in a sandstone edifice that otherwise has no reason to be exactly where it is makes me feel both terribly small and supremely finite, and the awe these features command isn't at all lost on me.
Garden of the Gods is one of those places where I leave with more questions than when I arrived: What was here before these giants? Who saw the Cathedral Spires first, and what did they think about them? I wonder what a time-lapse of their formation would look like? That last one, I know, is especially absurd…but still, I'd like to see it.