Yesterday I was splitting lots of freshly dredged glacial granite retrieved from the bottom of the quarry pond. We had loaded them all into our truck last week. They look a lot like clams when they open.
As I'm hammering on the chisel, tracing a line along the hard surface, I can feel whether the energy of the blow is connecting solidly all the way through the full density of the stone.
The times the stone doesn't make a generous 'thunk' sound, and the chisel just bounces limply back, producing only pulverized surface dust, I know I've had little effect on the stone. But when stone, chisel, hammer and I 'connect', there is the sure knowledge that with a few more similar hits my roly poly little friend will dramatically snap apart into two new friends.
In dry stone construction, when I'm coming up to wall height, split half-round chunks are easier to build with than their former bulbous selves. In their spiffy altered state they are happy to now be set somewhere along the wall. The burden of their awkward roundness has been lifted from them.
Many many years ago they started out as great noble slabs of bedrock. When the glaciers came and broke off sharp chunks, it took eons of time to wear the chunks into smooth round balls. I feel pleased with my morning's work. I am making round stones flat again.