Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mineral of the North

The water in the Japanese Garden in Roger Williams Park is milky green and filled with layers of glowing warmth when the sun shines in it. It reminds me of this piece of labradorite I have, which is green grey filled with the irridesence of fish scales. 

Legend has it that at one point the Northern Lights were trapped in the rock, and a warrior came along and cracked it with his spear, returning the lights to the atmosphere. At the Natural History Museum here in Rhode Island, they had a chunk of something called anorthocite on display in an exhibit about the moon. I'm confused about whether or not this is a lunar or terrestrial mineral, but whatever it is, I had a lot of trouble leaving the gallery because of what was going on in that rock. Yes it's cheesy but it was as if the rock had stories to tell about thousands of rainbows arching through the various atmospheres within hundreds of galaxies, as well as the nebulae from which they emerged. Or the iridescence in the irises of all your ancestors whenever the sun hit their eyes.

In indigenous religions the North is sometimes associated with that which is murky and unknowable and unconscious. The universal reset button, the place of dormancy and mystery between death and rebirth. It seems fitting that this mineral labradorite, a cloudy realm containing traces of all that was, is, and ever will be, though found in various parts of the globe, is named after that Northern region.

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