Monday, December 10, 2007

Radiolarian


Radiolarian chert (left) up against greywacke sandstone (right) near the Golden Gate bridge. This is one of many markers of the famous San Andreas fault. It is the boundary between two colliding crustal plates. The chert is a rosined bow, sliding against the strings of North America, playing a loud, ancient, dangerous song.

Re-reading John McPhee’s “Assembling California,” I’ve been relishing the words of geology: radiolarian chert; strike-slip fault; transform fault; pillow lava. These are juicy, aromatic, musical words.

Oolitic.

Lithosphere.

Imagine Morgan Freeman’s voice wrapped around those words.

Here's a little poem by Richard Brautigan from "Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork." I think it says something about the slow passage of geologic time and our difficulty reconstructing how we got here. Maybe.

THE CURVE OF FORGOTTEN THINGS
Things slowly curve out of sight
Until they are gone.
Afterwards
Only the curve
Remains

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