Moments In Geologic Time

crispydoc Uncategorized 4 Comments

This morning I was getting my lazy butt back into the swing of cycling when I noticed a chunk of rock sliding down a hillside next to the road. It was a fist-sized chunk, and did not threaten to strike me, but it focused my attention on something I seldom consider, the geologic time scale.

Rocks like this scatter alongside the roads in our Los Angeles suburb, but I seldom witness their motion, and I can think of a single instance where I noticed their displacement after the fact.

My son, daughter and I used to take hikes along a sinuous trail leading down from bluffs overlooking the ocean, which involved both rock-hoppingĀ  and navigating some precariously balanced boulders at the edge of the shore to reach an area that we scoured in search of fossils.

We did this regularly for years, to the point where we grew oblivious to the presence of the boulders.

Then one day, hiking the trail alone, I noticed something akin to finding a wall of your bedroom suddenly missing: one of the boulders had tipped over and rolled.

It stunned me to bear witness to a momentĀ  of geologic transformation.

I mention this because last night I threw a (homely, intimate) bachelor party for that Peter Pan friend, the boy we all thought might never grow up. Our trio has known one another since birth thanks to enduring friendships among our mothers, and our shared history binds us despite different adult personalities in varying stages and widely divergent experiences of life's bitter and sweet elements.

Witnessing that final friend commit to marriage (with what seems like a terrific partner) felt a little like the sudden awareness of a boulder moving - a fixture I'd taken for granted had shifted dramatically.

I'm still recalibrating.

Comments 4

  1. All time is forward moving. History is not real. It merely exists in a shared or non shared experience stored somewhere under the control of the hippocampus, or through deduction. To someone who moved to LA the day after the bolder slide, that bolder never existed at least in its previous 3 space location. The fossil of the fish is some evidence allowing a deduction there once was a fish. In this case it’s not the hippocampus that remembers, it’s the mud that remembers.

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  2. I have often pondered things around me in the grander scale of geologic time. I actually have the perfect example to do so in right in my backyard.

    The natural 45 ft waterfall in my backyard is of the plunge type where there is a large overhanging formation from which the water falls from (a great side effect is that you can actually walk behind the waterfalls and have this amazing vantage point). Several meters from he plunge pool are huge rock boulders which I gather at one point were part of the shelf that broke off.

    Over the course of eons I can envision that the shelf that I currently have will eventually break off as well and the waterfall with take on a more traditional appearance of rushing over a cliff and not an overhang. Take this time period even further and I am sure the waterfall will also recede more proximally and may one day not even be on my property at all (long after I’m gone).

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      The videos of your flooded waterfall were striking! I imagine that’s the perfect place to absorb a little humility on a regular basis – both to reflect on your insignificance as a force in the moment and as an entity over time.

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