Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Falling in love at the Sedgwick Museum

I always feel slightly foolish, confessing a love of rocks.

Look at those displays!

It is the small things, the particles, the details that have me.

Those fossil exhibits are superb, aren't they?

Yes, it's the tiniest elements I love, the way they crumble or bind.

Admittedly, you have to put the effort in.
Those geologists don't exactly know how to sex up their subject.

If those particles are separated, you can see them shine and sparkle. Glue them together, and I know that they build up into the vast landscape that flows under our feet to beyond our sight.

And mammoth teeth!

Vaster, deeper, wider than clay beds, chalk curves and limestone escarpments, more than all my comprehension, of all the planet and beyond, stretch the tiny things.

With a giant Irish Elk!

Maybe I love how I can pick up the tiniest particle my fingers can feel; I can rub it, hold it, see it, yet cannot grasp it, not at all.

But those geologists could tell me anything.

I know that the whole is unknowable, free of me and my comprehension.

Maybe it's the words I love. I mean, hear that language!
It's all extrusion and intrusion, transgression and compression.
It's quite a sexy subject, isn't it?

Unknowing the whole probably makes me love it all the more.

Oh. Just the way I think about it then.

But that's ridiculous.

It would be like falling in love with a detail but never knowing the whole. Like falling in love with the curve of an eyebrow, a note in a voice, or only one word from all the words that could fall on a page.