Sunday, May 4, 2014

radical rocks

i've been reminiscing on the fact that's it's been just over a year since we moved from california to virginia. browsing through my posts, i came across this one that i'd barely started and left uncompleted, even after seeing it in my drafts and passing over it. hmmm. i wonder how much different this will be now that i've left it for so long, rather than getting my thoughts down when they were fresh.

you can read through our adventure starting at the beginning or go straight to one of the days:
day two: yosemite bug
day three: arizona
day four: grand canyon
day five: meteor crater
part deux: el malpais
day six: route 66 museum
day seven: heavener runestone
day nine: cumberland caverns
day ten: historic crab orchard museum & pioneer park
special post: books picked up along the way

i think it was on day five or so of our trip that the theme of our travel emerged through the hazy atmosphere of my consciousness and plowed into me full force, like a hurtling, unavoidable meteor.


what?

you know, "the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change." (thanks, wikipedia!)

when i started to plan out our route from coast to coast (and, no, SGC2C fans, i was clearly not getting enough oxygen at this point), there were only a couple of landmarks we wanted to make sure to see.  the grand canyon was one, mount rushmore was the other.  when i realized, though, that it was impractical to spend that much time driving in the *wrong* direction just to see some human-carved rocks, though impressively large, i knew we would be frustrated by the extra miles with relatively little to see and wanted to make it up to us somehow.  i started researching some of the things we could visit that would not take us too far off the generally straight line across the country.  google maps and the things they highlighted were an excellent place to start.

i was pleased to introduce steve and the kids to the grand canyon, a huge channel carved by water over a stunningly long (by our standards) period of time.  it was after seeing the massive meteor crater, an immense bowl carved out by an impact explosion in mere moments, that i mulled over the similarities and differences of the two naturally-formed structures' existence.

on to el malpais and the cooled lava tubes.  with temperatures so hot that rocks were molten, under so much pressure that the earth itself could not contain it, volcanoes erupted with great expressions of release . . .

to the heavener runestone, a rock too heavy to be easily transported by humans yet its surface was transfigured by human hands to communicate some sort of message . . .

and cumberland caverns, cool underground chambers adorned by beautiful stalactites and stalagmites formed by the patient, slow drips of water, then expanded by human means in order to mine the resources it contained.

our journey, though i had not consciously organized it in this way, contained valuable lessons in geology.  and philosophy.  these are lessons that stick with me and hold me fast to the earth, and though i have yet to find a way to write about those lessons to my satisfaction, i am glad to have finished this post as a reminder to welcome them to the forefront of my mind.

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