Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Recycling the Earth

Glacial Reflections

The soft glow of Mt. Baker struck me as a Phantom, pouring its spell on my view from my living room window. This was a rare day- clouds and haze usually filtered this apparition from vision. Yet this mountain glacier persisted, in spite of the gradual creep upward of the Blue Planet’s temperature. What a stroke of serendipity it was that I had visited this island, before the debacle of continental dehydration created an increased movement to the northwest USA of people wanting habitation on islands which are cooled by northern Pacific waters.
Now it is difficult to find a plot where the trees remain and the area is un-congested. The coastline has been pre-empted, even though this is the less desirable location in terms of risk. Yearly, the western beaches are retreating, due to storm erosion, at about an average rate of nearly a foot. Those more prominent, which jut into the Puget Sound, may lose more than a foot yearly, and one should allow a foot for each remaining year of one’s projected life to ensure that there is sufficient real estate for dwelling.
But the flat-topped Mt. Baker says nothing of this- rather it reflects the annual snowfall which comes at it off the Pacific Ocean. It remains adamant, that it will show its stark profile to those who travel north of Seattle. In my younger days, I would have forthwith climbed to its peak of 10,775 feet elevation, but now I have to content myself with fixing my gaze on this giant ice cream sundae, through my front window.

Mt. Baker- a message from the Underworld

Inexorably, the torrid demons of the First Ring (line of contact of crust- where it is being forced into the next lower zone- and mantle) were making their way to the World of Life;
They had gathered all of the Energy from their Inner Hell to expel molten rock onto the Nest of the six great Kingdoms*. Volcanoes were active above the line of the abnormal contact of the First and Second shells, and this zone on the EARTH'S surface is known as Cascadia.
The nest had taken a long time for creation- over three billion years had expired since simple living cells had found a way to propagate.
First, the participants had tolerated the original atmosphere of methane and Carbon dioxide, gradually absorbing these and releasing the toxic oxygen for creation of a new atmosphere. Then, as the air became increasingly a gaseous oxygen regime, they found a way to use the new gas for burning the flimsy carbon to produce Carbon Dioxide back again.
Along the way, expelled basalt was attacked by this new life, taking some of its ingredients- Potassium, Nitrogen, ions, and Phosphorus, robbing it of items necessary to remain basalt. The next thermal-mechanical cycle of rotation of the resulting sedimentary rocks back into the earth partly produced a fraction of less heavy rock- granite. Life had begun to make a crust of the slag from the earth, which was more considerate of Life.
Life had worked a way of attaining its goal- that of propagating itself and slowing the destruction of the Earth. By making the Crust increasingly thick, with each sedimentary- melting cycle, as part of the crust was forced back into the deep mantle, Life was insulating itself from the demons below, who were determined to expel all those materials too light to remain.
The line of Cascades, which included Mt. Baker, was a result of the forcing of part of the earth’s crust (first shell) down into the depths, with the cycles created by the rotation of this shallow layer back into the second shell- the Mantle. Heat was driving the process, from processes of radioactive reactions and compression of basalt into a more dense form (releasing heat). This cycle required at least one hundred million years, but there now have been several decades of these cycles, in the time since Life first started lightening the rocks in the sedimentary realm. With each cycle of subduction-uplift, requiring 100million years or more, the lighter rocks of the crust became thicker. Granite mass increases with time, since it is a result of the melting of sedimentary rocks- predominantly quartz, shale, and limestones.
Which will win- the forcible expulsion of the heavy rock from the Cascades, to be transformed by Life, or the return to basalt due to loss of Life as Carbon Dioxide becomes more dominant with burning of the organic materials produced by Previous Life?

Mt. Baker continues- belching occasionally, bringing basalt for the new attack, adding acids to the local economy, and creating water in the process:
Acid + Base > Salt + Water, e.g. HCl + Na, oxides in rock > H2O + NaCl
So long as Life prevents the reverse of this relation, water is created, salt beds are brought for Life, and the light elements of the earth are re-cycled. Life is good! An excess of burning of previous deposits of organic compounds will return the atmosphere to one dominant in carbon dioxide, and the earth will revert to that of three billion years previous.
This might be interpreted as the eternal battle of good versus evil- the demons of the underworld clearly intending to minimize the formation of the crust, leaving it one of basalt composition.

*In order of formation, the Kingdoms now in effect (subject to Taxonomists’ reorganization) are:
1. Archaea,
2. Bacteria, both single-celled
3. Protista, such as diatoms,
4. Fauna,
5. Fungi, close to animals, and
6. Flora

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day Events

The following remembrances are from my Mother's side of the family:

Gertrude Alcott Poetry

Down on My Daddy’s Farm

There’s just a little spring of water
Down on my daddy’s farm;
There’s a breeze that waves the tall trees
Down behind the barn.
I love to see the moon-beams play,
O’er a land so fair;
Now it’s all because it’s daddy’s home,
And I’m wishing I were there.

Just to hear the whippoorwill when it’s getting late,
Just to stroll on down the hill, and
Swing on Daddy’s gate;
Just to hear my daddy’s voice,
Calling up the pigs,
And to hear the horses running-
Breaking sticks and twigs.

Now it’s all because it’s daddy’s home
It seems a Loveland fair, and
Mother and daddy are there alone,
And my thoughts still wander there.
From thought I have painted a picture,
Which stays in memory still.
And when all is quiet and peaceful,
I roam o’er daddy’s hills.

Gertrude Alcott

Homeland (near Mississippi River, Arkansas)

I see a couple sitting there, resting in the sun-
Looking over a life well used, for all the labor done.
A full measure had the two, during those fruitful hours; When farmland was hard designed, for springtime’s flooding showers.

Gardens carefully tended, so that food was on the board
For four fluttering flitting robins, who were such a hungry horde.
Who would feel compelled to spend a life, heavily engaged in toil-
In a thankless marshy country, with every plan destined to foil?

Unless Love was there beside them,
Maybe quietly from the one;
And boisterously from the other,
While the Living was being done.

It might have gone unnoticed, by the un-observing soul,
That their every root and substance was to make that farm their goal;
Yet with all the lasting bitterness- that goes in fighting fate-
They have reached a new serenity, through that same ol’ garden gate.

Where every single memory, gives life a steely ring;
And where every year the robins come back to see the spring.

Harold L. Overton

Mother’s Day (1968)

Her nimble hands ran carefully over her work,
As she hummed a long forgotten tune;
And her soft footstep polished the grooved floor-
As the crazy quilt took shape ‘neath her fingers.

How her hands did fly!

The small ones playing ‘round her feet
Gave her Life-
In that isolated homestead,
With her strange patterned quilt.

Occasionally, she glanced outward, toward the garden
Or listened for a certain sound-
To find if larger ones were returning.
There was dinner to prepare;
But there was yet time,
To add a few more blocks
To that crazy quilt,
Which would warm some future grandson.

How Time does fly!

I would like to see that garden once more,
And hear that soft footstep-
As nimble hands work lovingly on strange patterns,
Which go to distant places.

Harold L. Overton

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Life Ahead- Wine and Flowers

An Alpine Meadow
(Sierras, from Berkeley, 1967)

A splash of yellow on a field of green
Caused the bees to stir-
Raising hopes of winter honey,
Where snapdragons previously were…

Sunlit slopes and fragrant air
Keep the bees a-hum
Raising petal fetishes,
Where the bees are from.

What is your secret of activity
All the summer long?
I hope to break the meadow code
Of your flower song.

Harold L. Overton