What it all means.

6 07 2008

No pictures today, only thoughts about geology. There will be more pictures again on Monday, so don’t worry. I just thought perhaps you might like some insight into the “Why geology?” question.

I’m reading a book about death in the Grand Canyon. It’s fascinating and takes on a whole new dimension since I just visited there recently. The geology angle is certainly amplified by my chosen profession. Anyway, a quote that I read today summed up my feelings on geology in as succinct and complete a fashion as I could ever hope for.

“Who in the hell wants to be a white collar sissy when one can enjoy such grandeur and beauty such as this?” – Bert Loper, on why he was making yet another (and eventually fatal) Grand Canyon Colorado River run at the age of nearly 80.

Yep. No offense to my friends behind desks, but indoor jobs just weren’t for me. Give me 13,000 feet above sea level. Give me back-breaking work and interminable hikes over wickedly sharp lava flows. Give me meticulous data collection. Give me the dirty, dusty, sweaty grunt work that no one else wants. To hell with the physical discomfort of being cold or hot, or thirsty or tired. I can go places few have ever gone or will go. I can take helicopter flights above active volcanoes. I can descend into volcanic vents. I can hike into the middle of the desert to garner valuable research material. I can take a machete to a jungle or use the stars to navigate at night. I can use my body and mind together to unfold the mysteries of our planet, or even of the universe. I can still be that astronaut of my child fantasies. I can still discover something that might change the course of science as we know it.

I love geology because it is tangible proof that I can still do anything I want. I love geology because it gives back all of those little girl dreams I thought that I had to relinquish in order to be a so-called responsible adult. I love geology because in explaining life the way no other field does, it also offers me the opportunity to write a chapter in the neverending story.

In closing, a very different sort of quote that also resonates deeply with me:

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

~William Blake

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One response

7 07 2008
Benji

You are amazing.

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