The pebbles of the Atlantic

“Should we bring meaning where beauty is enough?
As a child, I kept for a long time in my "treasure" a yellowed flint collected on the banks of the Loire. I saw a rabbit's head there, its eyes, its ears and even its teeth. I thought I had the petrified remains of a real rabbit. Until the day my father explained to me the nature of my stone and the chances of it breaking. My flint, suddenly become a banal whim of nature, lost all prestige that day; he was soon abandoned by the side of a path.
As I flipped through the images in this album, I remembered my rabbit, and I wondered if a geological look at Jean Hincker's beautiful photographs was not going to extinguish some of their poetry and their mystery. Faced with this risk, I kept quiet. Pebbles in general, I will only mention collective memory, leaving the reader alone to face the natural peculiarities offered to him in this book. In this way, I hope to avoid restricting his imagination.
Should the beauty of natural objects take care of their historical and scientific memory? In front of images of pebbles, can the geologist be summoned without running the risk of weakening the aesthetic pleasure of the viewer by his learned commentary? I asked these questions at the beginning of this text. I will be forgiven for thinking that, on the contrary, however brief it may be when we replace it in the immensity of geological time, the fragment of history that can be read in a pebble singularly increases the pleasure of the mind experienced. to contemplate its beauty. A bit like in front of a landscape, the happiness of a hiker increases in knowing the geological architecture that underlies the mountains and valleys he contemplates. To the joy of knowing is then added the satisfaction of understanding "... Excerpts from the preface to the book" Les cailloux de l'Atlantique ".
Gilbert Boillot,
Former University professor,
ocean geologist.