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My piece for our box

marian.bechtel's picture

So I thought a lot about what I could put in our box to represent this whole semester. Much of this involved me actually just scrounging through my room to see what I actually had that I could give. I finally landed at a small piece of blueschist from my rock collection. First of all, it's very small and will definitely fit in the box, leaving much space for everyone else's things. Secondly, despite its small size, it represents a really pretty incredible geologic story that feels metaphorical for this class. Blueschist is actually somewhat rare to find exposed at the surface of the Earth - it is a pretty special rock (to me at least), just as this class has really held a special place for me this semester, and surely far beyond this semester. Blueschist is a highly metamorphosed rock, meaning it's been heated and squished pretty intensely during tectonic convergence events. In the case of this rock in particular (it's from Catalina Island in California), this rock was buried deep within the Earth's crust, and during subduction of the ancient Farallon plate beneath the North American Plate, it was squished and heated intensely and scraped off onto the overriding plate as the subduction progressed in such a way that the older, more highly metamorphosed rocks were positioned above the younger, less metamorphosed rocks (I'm not going to go into much detail on why here, it's pretty complicated, but also really cool so just take my word for it that this is cool). The plate was uplifted and eventually eroded down to expose this deeply buried blueschist. Sometimes in this class I've felt like that blueschist. We've collided with a lot of texts and ideas, some bits have just subducted beneath us, others we have scraped off and in conversation we've squished and pushed and heated and twisted them until they was much more than just lines from a text or ideas spoken of in class - we found beautiful, deep meaning in them, and in each other. And now it's up to us to continue to erode away everything we had piled above those (sometimes radical) ideas so that they are exposed at our surface and we can draw from them. This class has felt like an epic geologic journey and now we are coming out of this semester with something beautiful, yet at the same time, this beautiful something we are coming out with (our blueschist, if you will) is not "finished" or "done." It's a part of the Earth that will continue to be tossed around and will find its way back into the Earth someday and keep changing. So in a way, this blueschist represents both that we are coming out of this class with very solid, powerful, beautiful thoughts and ideas, but ones that are part of a neverending process of change. Also I just find blueschist really fun and this class has been really fun.

Have I beaten that metaphor into the ground yet? (Sometimes I love a good metaphor overkill.) I could definitely keep going with this metaphor if I wanted...something about the rock being made up of other pieces of Earth, being one body composed of many different minerals, etc.

Anyway, there you have it - my piece for the box will be a small bit of blueschist!