Wednesday, November 25, 2015

old essay from my geology class in 2002

     I stare at nature's chaos: piles of tephra-ash, dust, rocks--indiscriminate sorting that mounds into Bishop Tuff.  Long Valley is lined with enigmas that wonder and baffle eyes: misplaced trees lying at the top of White-Wing Mountain---intrusive dikes that follow a non-conforming direction---sloping pediments that lean towards their birthplace---preservering beuts that outlast their eroded mates--unconsolidated talices lacking any cohesive form or idea.
     Could this mass of confusion have a plan? Examining the type of rock--sedimentary, metaphoric, igneous, we can then estimate an age: Does its wrinkles allow for new colors to leap through? Does it hold its place in time as it forms the base for future pieces to join?
Then we scrapple for a source--volcanic? phreatic? fissure? fault? earthquake? collapse? Did it cave in or spring out? As Connie said: "we can listen around us for clues to the cause." The rustling spring carries us to a plausible steaming answer. The basaltic scraps glue together to form a magnetic picture, and the ruins of age-old spaceships lead to our smiling, fuzzy, green martians.
We can follow the lines in a fault, rewinding their journey with our eyes. The placement of a tephra treasure buries the truth in its dust.
     I gaze at the Bishop Tuff and imagine its intricate path--the smaller pieces on the bottom were dropped by an ash fall--the first to arrive in its nest. The larger pieces followed along--too heavy to be swept up by rapid winds. Yes-there is some underlying logic that can be studied and grasped.  Geologists observe and interpret, feel and speculate, and discover a brain hidden amongst the dizzy spell of nature. Just a taste of logic to which we can relate because the intention of the rock is the same intention of which we are a part.  Looking towards the mountains we can start to understand by noting the presence of an interbedded instruction.  Yes there really is a recipe and algorithm to basins and ranges. Stretching--raising--eroding---sinking ---I can follow the pattern! But are nature's conundrums reducible to mathematical formulas? Is this hinted order completely solvable? If we claim to hold the answer than are we really appreciating the mystery? Yes, I study and scrapulate all the nooks and crannies and sort through different interpretations to settle on---a most probable cause that most likely is......
--sigh --
I breathe and let go my attempts to know more than it, resting in a moment of awe.

This wise old rock can teach me if I admit its greatness and seek comfort by knowing that it knows ...even if I never will.

bits of bits of old journals

I'd rather be in the center of myself
the center of all others' eyes.

Sometimes I forget
the external world
has little to do
with the divine.


is life only meaningful when shared?
is my time alone of less value?
are my great (but quiet) ideas
less great
when kept to myself?
Are my questions still questions
if never asked
and never answered?


Sherry Turkle:
"Loneliness is failed solitude.
To experience solitude you must be able to summon yourself by yourself;
otherwise you will only know how to be lonely."

"We may want to live less thickly
and wait for more infrequent but meaningful face to face encounters."

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