While my partner read the last chapter of Botany of Desire aloud, I felt calling from the bookshelf the 1998 Pulitzer Prize-winning book by John McPhee, Annals of a Former World – nominally about geology.
The book opens with this:
The poles of the Earth have wandered. The equator has apparently moved. The continents, perched on their plates, are thought to have been carried so very far and to be going in so many directions that it seems an act of almost pure hubris to assert that some landmark of our world is fixed at 73 degrees 57 minutes and 53 seconds west longitude and 40 degrees 51 minutes and 14 seconds north latitude – a temporary description, at any rate, as if for a boat on the sea. Nevertheless, these coordinates will, for what is generally described as the foreseeable future, bring you with absolute precision to the west apron of the George Washington Bridge. Nine a.m. A weekday morning. The traffic is some gross demonstration in particle physics. It burst from its confining source, aimed at Chicago, Cheyenne, Sacramento, through the high dark road cuts of the Palisades Sill. A young woman, on foot, is being pressed up against the rock wall by the wind booms of the big semis of Con Weimar Bulk Transportation, Fruehauf Long Ranger. Her face is Nordic, her eyes dark brown and Latin – the bequests of grandparents from the extremes of Europe. She wears mountain boots, blue jeans. She carries a single-jack sledgehammer…. She is a geologist.
Why do I like this opening so much? While it concludes with a simple human experience I never imagined before, it begins with a reminder that the Earth has been through many, many changes over the millennia, is moving and shifting constantly even now.
I’m looking forward to some seriously dramatic changes on this Earth again. And I think I’m willing to survive or perish in such a catastrophe – anything to end the wars, torture, child sex industries, financial manipulations, and enslavement.