Fragile

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

When I was growing up, I thought I lived in the most boring place on earth. The Blue Ridge mountains in Maryland reach a humble elevation of 2000 feet (600 meters). The mountains are known for coal, and coal is relatively uninteresting – at least compared to, say, the hot magma inside of Mt. Saint Helens. As a kid, I always wanted to know what an erupting volcano would look like.

The climate in the northeastern United States is tame. Tornados are extremely rare, and I figured there was little chance of me being whisked into the Land of Oz with Dorothy. Growing up, I always wanted to save Dorothy from those flying monkeys.

Earthquakes also fascinated me. I used to picture earthquakes as making a cartoonish clean split in the ground. The ground here is rich in limestone – a soft rock. The most interesting ground features in this area are the numerous caves and sinkholes formed by erosion. Being I’m a tad bit claustrophobic, I’ve always considered spelunkers to be quite mad.

Then there is the Maryland shoreline. The waves in Ocean City are mostly small, and often cold. You won’t see any surfing championships here. As a kid, I used to look at pictures of surfers with waves towering behind them and imagine how exciting it must be to be ahead of a wave so large.

Being a little older now, I realize there are some events I don’t want to witness first hand.

Nature’s extreme forces make life look so fragile.


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by K. Scott Allen K.Scott Allen
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