Wednesday, August 31, 2011

World of Wonders

Azurite and cavensite crystals found in a new age crystal shop in Mount Shasta the other day. A crystal healers' website tells me that crystals are a physical reminder that miracles happen. As extremely unlikely events, the statement is true. Cavensite was not even discovered till 1970, and is found in only about four places on earth, so far known. A calcium vanadium silicate incorporating water (a hydrate), it is needles of intense turquoise blue...little starbursts of them. Wow.
Miracles happen. Beauty happens. The world goes on, in spite of our meddling. Maybe it will be OK. Even if we stay on grid power till the farm in Georgia sells and we can set up solar and wind. Even if we have to buy firewood and food and whatever till then. Planet Earth has been through worse. Asteroid impacts, runaway climate changes....
Night after night I see the many stars, the great spangled strip of the Milky Way across the sky. Twice now I've walked out with the star book and the red headlamp and traced the Great Square and down the leg of Andromeda and seen that small smudge of glow there, like a detached blob of Milky Way: the Andromeda galaxy...the most distant thing visible to the naked eye. Between here and there, all I can see, how many living worlds are there? How many beautiful and unknown crystals, how many living things that glow, how many consciousnesses and cultures? In my own lifetime, people have gone into space, gone to the moon, sent probes throughout the solar system. New wonders they have found...sulfur volcanoes on Io, methane lakes on Titan, the ice world of Europa.
A bookstore can be a depressing place to me sometimes. I will never know all the wonders that are known, not in space, nor even on earth. At various temperatures and pressures, ice and other substances crystallize in different patterns. There are droplets of colored oil in the retinal cells of birds. Mary Kingsley saw balls of violet light over Lake Ncovi (in Gabon, West Africa), and I have no reason to doubt her. I myself have seen bead lightning, frost flowers, and felt the heat of aroid blossoms. There are fireflies in multiple colors, and staghorn ferns, and skunk cabbages, and cavensite. Cavensite existed in 1965, before anyone knew about it.