Monday, April 1, 2013

Earth's bones

I went to the Museum of Natural history today. It is known for its dinosaur skeletons but I made a beeline for the minerals and rocks area. 

I love these earthly treasures with a dwarvish passion. Not the study of them, really—or at least not study in any systematic or scientific way. My response is more simple and visceral than that. 

I like how they look: Solid. 

I like how they feel: Calming.  

I wended my way slowly amid all the hoards of families there on a bank holiday, and lingered over each display. 

I was interested to find out that the National Gallery is made of Portland Stone from Dorset. 

I gazed long at shining lines of opal zig-zagging through some duller rock, light-shifting and gleaming like the aurora borealis in a clouded sky.

I had no real feel for coal as a natural substance until I saw it in its raw state, displaying darkly beautiful sonatas of patterns. Who knew?

I saw sparred/shining/rough/planed/sparkling/shimmering/smooth/shaped by hands, wind, water, years, the weight of glaciers and mountains.

The cool weight of a stone in my hand is satisfying. Stone invites touch. (Most of the stones at the museum were behind plexiglas, so I could only touch them with my mind-fingers.)

They are just so splendid in their ways of growing, their rich variety, their patterns and secret, perfect order...so complete.  

I'll see the dinosaurs next time. 

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