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Wednesday Geology Picture: Eye-Of-Sauron Basalt In Fire Coral

One dreary Wisconsin day right before Christmas, D and I drove down a grey country road towards Manitowoc. We stepped out of the car for a minute and, to our chagrin, the car kept going without us. Suddenly, stop lights appeared out of nowhere and we followed the vehicle as it continued forward through these newly-lighted intersections narrowly avoiding collisions with giant pickup trucks and snow plows. Shortly before we caught up, huffing and panting, the car had veered off into a field and crashed into a barn, its engine block having been spit out onto an unsuspecting and now very bludgeoned-to-death cow. Distant screams and wails indicated that other parts of the car had landed in a farmer’s home and caused further death and dismemberment. Oh no, what had I done now? A surge of pain and fear went through me and the ghost of this rock appeared before … I woke up.

It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? A trifecta of geology. Basalt, fossil coral and iron staining of the fossil. Snorkeling off the Kona coast, D and I saw thousands upon thousands of live Milleporidae (fire coral) and Faviidae (brain coral) growing on basalt boulders washed out to sea. Often, I’d come up to clean my mask, put it back on and then half-submerge it to visually straddle two worlds – Planet Of The Apes above and The Life Aquatic below the water line of the Hawaiian islands. Next time, I will have a waterproof camera on me.

I found this piece of that underwater world on a Kona beach and decided to keep it. John G asked if I knew what I was doing; did I really want to incur the wrath of Pele by taking a piece of her off the Big Island? When I brought the rock back to Waikiki, John’s assistant freaked out as well and said I was welcome to mail it back to her if my luck started to sour. Some of you may have heard of the belief that taking rocks off the Hawaiian islands results in bad luck. It’s big on the islands, having taken deep root even in otherwise rational people. Scientists don’t believe in any of that pish-posh hocus-pocus mumbo-jumbo, or at least we ought not to. And, moreover, I’m a geologist, one who understands and appreciates Pele and her rocks, and didn’t take it from a national park, so I get a pass.

Then why the sinking feeling inside each time I consider this sample? And that dream! If you break it apart logically, I was involved in a really scary car wreck almost exactly four years ago to the day, D and I are driving up to Wisconsin for Christmas, we are going to be forced to make a hard decision soon and, for Pete’s Pele’s sake, I have bags of Hawaiian beach sand that didn’t bother the Hawaiians and don’t don chains of Christmas past and future and haunt me like this damned rock. Pele is possessive of her rocks, but not their constituent minerals? What kind of dumbass logic is that? And yet, almost every single day since we have returned from Hawaii, something has gone south to the point that yesterday afternoon, I had to sit down and declare to the universe, “OH COME ON.”

To top it all off, the thing is in the shape of an eye. Just staring at me. Like from on top of Mordor. With Sauron, laughing at me as I recount my dream of cow murder. “You killed Milky. Milky, nooooooo! Hahahaha*snort*hahaa!” (Actually, that’s what D says to me each time I bring it up.)

Respect Pele and send it back? Or put on my big girl socks and keep it? Let me know.

(I’m probably going to mail it back to John as an experiment. If things continue to flounder after I’ve repatriated the offender, then it’s just me and life being, you know, life.)

3 comments… add one
  • Anita December 14, 2011, 1:07 PM

    If you have to have a heart to heart talk with Pele, you should definitely try to find out who it is that has been on your case up to now.

  • Britta December 14, 2011, 2:20 PM

    Ooops — we have quite a few rocks from Maui & The Big Island! Perhaps that’s why my health has been so bad during the last decade…

    Nope, I can’t do it — I just can’t encourage you to give up such a beautiful specimen. :)

    We loved the Kona coast as well. Hope I get back there someday!

    And I hope you & D have a wonderful Christmas —

  • joejoejoe December 15, 2011, 4:54 AM

    The USPS doesn’t need any more bad luck. Send it FedEx!

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