Friday, June 4

Structural Support

At one time I had a budding interest in geology. I started a rock collection. Later, it was obvious the majority of my finds were gravel and concrete bits from house construction. Trading posts in Arizona were my inspiration to begin collecting pretty, polished rocks. I loved my geology course at Scottsdale High, however, the only thing I remember from the grueling end-of-semester test was what schist and basalt look like. Today, my hikes in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve prompt regret I don't have a better memory for igneous vs metamorphic, or alluvium from common sandstone.

Guatemalans right now have a spectacular and dizzying front row seat to the Mother of geological processes. ¡Ay, increible! I have a fear of heights. Just peeking at images of this baby has me instinctively bracing my toes hard against the floor ~ a posture very similar to what you do with your right foot while someone else is behind the wheel during their learner's permit phase.
Adding to this innate fear, is the fact that even the experts are baffled with why it appeared and more importantly, what to do with it. (1) El Grande (I don't know what they're calling it, really, it could be "Mauricio" or maybe "El Diablo") is something like 30 stories deep. Straight DOWN. As in toss a peso over the rim and take a siesta before hearing it hit bottom - creepers. Of course I'm having fun with this because I am 2,374 miles away from it. And, because thankfully, no one was killed because of it.

Distressingly, I read today about a place familiar to all of us where a lot of people were killed; a place that is literally a National burial ground we swore we would never forget. Ground zero in New York City is projected as the future site for a $100 million Muslim mosque and community center. (2) A Muslim advocate explained it would be a "much needed space for venues" (that's marketing-speak for "parties"). The community board in Manhattan voted 29-1 for it. The families of 9/11 victims emotionally present during the four hour meeting were apparently dismissed in favor of politics, or the presumed benefits of displaying to the world that America is a sloppy forgiving place.

There was no mention of proposing a non-denominational chapel or memory garden or any number of other compassionate and beautiful solutions that would speak much more inclusively about "bridging gaps" and "higher aspirations". The Manhattan Borough President actually defended his support for the mosque by quick-drawing the ever convenient bigotry card when he said, "What we're rejecting here is outright bigotry and hatred." New Yorkers did not fail their reputation for attitude, and in this instance I believe they righteously dished it out when they shouted, "Honor the 3,000!"

Why there? Why now? Whose agenda is really about "high" ideals? Religious tolerance, humanity, decency or brotherly love doesn't have anything to do with this particularly well-organized Muslim effort being very emphatic and very unyielding about what they think is best for that site. If Muslim Americans wish to promote their desire for peace and harmony, how about a donation towards trees planted or a commemorative monument suitable for all people in a place hallowed specifically by one people: those who lost their lives there. It wasn't a geological phenomenon that opened up and swallowed the 3,000; it was outright bigotry and hatred.

The only thing geologists are in agreement on is that some kind of structural mechanical support will be necessary at the base of the massive sinkhole before anyone thinks about adding who knows how much fill to it. I have an idea about that which will solve both problems: it will cost about $100 million.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

Glad you are back.
And that sink hole scared me even to look at it!