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Posts Tagged ‘continental drift’

And breaking me up, and drifting my continents all over the earth


The little I know about plate tectonics has always made me terribly sad. And can’t you see why? Solely from this lonely, dark hued graphic? Wholeness disintegrates, intimacy crumbles, the east coast of South America is obviously supposed to be cosmically kissing the west coast of Africa, as seen from space,  forever. When I visited Mount St Helens, I became pretty mystically obsessed with the eruption (blame plate tectonics! and by extension, the world we live in), manifested mostly in memorizing the date and time of the eruption (May 18, 1980; 8:32 am) and buying lots of before-and-after picture books. Something about a stately, pretty pastel reposed mountain erupting with a “force comparable to that of a hydrogen bomb” and forevermore existing without a snowy peak but a crater, pluming ash all the way to Idaho and Alberta made me think less that it was an active volcano in the Pacific Rim of Fire and more that it was terribly sad.

I guess I just started thinking about this again with the apparent two tectonic plates upon which Port-au-Prince sits (Caribbean Plate and Gonave Microplate), grinding and smoldering for hundreds of years before exploding. I know my interest is obviously drawn of my pesky reflexive humanness, and my species’ ability to anthropomorphize (Alright, I like what they said in the Community pilot: “People can connect with anything. We can sympathize with a pencil, we can forgive a shark, and we can give Ben Affleck an Academy Award for screenwriting.”).

Clearly I can connect with a mountain and plates, and I don’t want to be broken apart! I don’t want to explode or be reduced in size from 9,677 to 8,365 feet! I’ve just had a nightmarish interconnected Haiti-and-Helen fantasy of metaphorical personhood and I’m going to share it: A mountain like a person, seethes for centuries, explodes lava and steam, pumping ash and magma for miles, collapsing Presidential palaces, cathedrals and shacks in a dust bowl of rubble and blood and swamps and oil but then time imperceptibly passes and screams die, motion stops and silence stultifies everything in a frozen dreamscape-within-a-dreamscape of white noise and darkness, nauseous loss, all in darkness, soundless and then drifting like a continent for millennia, soundless and forgetful. Till one day you wake up coughing, with a headache, sad over visuals of Pangaea breaking up and sleepily remember that you too were once a supercontinent and a mountain and a luckless Caribbean country and the long-repressed retrospective sadness builds, the indignation over former connectedness (mother and child, fetus and womb, in utero idyll), now irreparably topographically, geologically, temporally separated by oceans and the state of being born and the necessity of growing up and not having prospects; you think, man, wouldn’t it be easier to be a mountain…

But o! the east coast of South America can never be reunited with the west coast of Africa, ancestrally marine rocks sit thousands of meters above sea level in the Alps and everything drifts, breaks and explodes. Acceptance, sadness, resignation, reality (I am not a volcano, I am a writer of WordPress posts (or, I am no longer a perfectly symmetrical volcano for my tip has become the massive Crater Glacier, sunken and concave as a fallen souffle, but still I soldier on, full of icefall and contested in name by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names)).

I seriously cannot stick with one linear thought. Someone please elect yourself to be my editor. I’ll pay… in words.

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