It Came From the Wizard’s Cellar Chapter 7: Just Wanted One Moment

Start the story from the beginning with these links: Ch 1Ch 2Ch 3Ch 4Ch 5Ch 6.

Darren slumped into the chair. He exhaled slowly and haphazardly tapped the table to a beat he heard once but couldn’t place.

Who knew being a hero could be so exhausting? It had been only two days since Darren, Marcus, and Esmeralda saved the town and thwarted the Weird. That was what Esmeralda had called it after that fateful night. Darren believed she was just making it up, naming what couldn’t be named or even described. However, weird worked for him.

Darren had gotten his chance to stand before a crowd, next to Marcus while they were granted the key to the city or something like that. Darren only paid attention when the town elders mentioned free alcohol from the tavern. Darren had spent most of his life in the shadows and keeping a low profile. On the stage, he felt the most vulnerable. Out of habit, he had scanned the crowd for an angry crossbow bolt or a knife thirsting for his blood.

The barmaid approached with their drinks. Darren perked his head up from the table. Just like at the ceremony, alcohol distracted him.

Esmeralda was given a tall, slender glass of red wine. Marcus had two large mugs of his favorite slop. Darren cringed, it still smelled horrible. Darren received a simple pint of ale a wooden cup. No flair, no special, just alcohol. He gleefully watched the barmaid place it on the table. This was going to be his first of many.

“Anything else?” The barmaid smiled.

Marcus shook his head.

Darren wrapped his hands around his wooden pint as if it contained gold. “Everything is wonderful. Just don’t let this go empty.”

“Ma’am?”

Esmeralda remained quiet and distant. Darren wasn’t even sure if she could hear the barmaid. It was as if Esmeralda was not even present in the moment.

Marcus nodded. “She is fine, just preoccupied. We will let you know if we need anything else.”

The barmaid nodded as she turned her attention to the rest of her rowdy patrons. She breathed deeply before stepping out of the bubble that muffled the sound at their table.

Marcus leaned over and whispered to Esmeralda. “Hey, Ez, your wine is here.”

Her left hand autonomously wrapped around the base of the drink, but she didn’t lift the glass. Her face wore a scowl as if Marcus had suddenly offended her.

Darren decided it wouldn’t be his fault if Marcus suddenly got turned into a newt and would only focus on his pint of ale. He lifted the cup to his lips.

“Well, it’s unlikely that Claire was receiving any funding from the university.”

Darren smacked the cup into his chin when Esmeralda’s sudden voice startled him. Some of the ale spilled on his tunic.

“Dammit.”

“Yes, it makes our next move more difficult.”

“No, Ez, the ale fell on my. . . nevermind.”

“Building portals is not a cheap project. She would have to get the finest materials. She also would have some extra research to do.”

“I thought you said Claire started this work at the university,” Marcus said, casually lifting one of his great mugs to his lips. “She would have the research in her journals she took with her, correct?”

“No, the magical universities are very protective of the work done in their halls. All of her work would have been confiscated. Failure and expulsion tends to mean that she had no right to practice magic out in the world.

“Failed wizards tend to still practice magic in small ways. They can usually set up businesses in small towns like this as fortune tellers, palm readers, even potion makers. The universities usually don’t pursue such rogues. This would be a different matter entirely. However, if Claire copied and stole her notes from the university, she took a step that not many have before her.”

“So, she had connections with more the seedy elements in the town.” Darren could smell the alcohol from the pint. It was glorious.

Esmeralda’s green eyes fell on Darren. It was like staring down the muzzle of a predator. Darren froze, the rim of his pint touching his lips.

She pointed a finger at him. “Yes.”

Darren swallowed.

“And you have connections with the underbelly of every town we go to, it seems.”

Darren smiled. “I know a few people here and there.” Wait, did he just volunteer for something?

Esmeralda snapped her figures. “Yes, you can find out if Claire used any smugglers in the area for the materials she would need.”

Darren shrugged. “Sure, I could do that. I killed the one I was most connected with, but I’m sure I can weasel my way into something around here. It seems to be mostly arms smuggling though.”

Pleased that his skills would come in handy, Darren prepared to take a big gulp of his fine ale.

Esmeralda reached a hand across the table and pulled the pint from his face. Ale wetted Darren’s lips. He licked them, then stretched his tongue out in vain to lick from the pint. A child-like whine escaped his lips.

“We have to start immediately.” Esmerelda’s green eyes nearly burned with urgency.

“But we beat the Thing, this can wait, can’t it?”

“If Claire had funds from somewhere, someone was interested in the results. They might come looking for her notes once they learn what transpired here. Or they could just move to another rogue wizard somewhere in the land. We got lucky this time. We cannot let this be repeated.”

Somehow, Esmeralda’s deft hands had wrested the pint from Darren and placed it on the table. He was mortified and impressed.

“So, we go now, huh?”

Esmeralda nodded.

She stood up and kindly slapped Marcus on the shoulder. “Let’s go, big lug.”

Marcus raised a finger as he finished his second mug of black swill. Darren wanted to gag. Marcus slammed the mug on the table and rose to his feet.

“Wonderful, more adventure!” Marcus exclaimed.

“Yeah,” Darren was less ecstatic, “no rest for the weary.” He eyed the pint on the table and grabbed it.

“Just another day in the life!” Marcus laughed as he slapped Darren on the back.

Darren was caught off balance as the large hand landed square on his back. He lost the grip on his pint. Ale flew the air as the pint landed on its side.

“Dammit, Marcus!”

© 2018 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.

Thwart

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Promise/Reflection

I enjoy sunrises and sunsets equally. Each represents a different way of approaching a day, like bookends with all the stories in between.

A sunrise is the promise of the coming day. It promises a mixture of the plans that I make and all the unknowns that can either help or hinder my plans. It’s a calling to march, once more, unto the breach. I can’t predict the result, but it’s important that I, at least, get on my feet and on my way. And some days are harder than others to moving.

When the sun begins to dip low toward the horizon, it is a time for reflection. I have discovered the mysteries and trudged through the banality of the day. I have been embraced by success and embroiled in failure. The sunset gives me that time to look back on how the day went and, more importantly, how I reacted to it. Sometimes, it is simply a moment to throw my hands into the air and let the frustrations from the day pass into shadow. In any case, perhaps there is a small crumb of wisdom I can glean from the day to make tomorrow more productive.

These two photographs were taken on the first full day of a short research cruise at the Flower Garden Banks Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico. I was out on the R/V Manta with crew and scientists with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). They were going to survey the reefs at the sanctuary while I was going to collect water samples as part of what my lab hoped would become a long-term monitoring project related to ocean acidification.

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The sunrise is framed on the back deck surrounded by dive gear and what is known as a Rosette Sampler. The white cylindrical frame held twelve grey Niskin bottles. When deployed, the bottles are held open with wires stretched across the bottle. A signal from the ship shuts the bottles when the rosette sampler reaches the desired depths for water sampling. I can then collect the water when the sampler is brought back on board. This was the promise of our day. It was a day of diving and water collection in the Gulf of Mexico.

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The second picture is sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. I was on the top deck of the ship, waiting for twilight and the night sky to light up with stars not seen in the city. It was a moment of bittersweet reflection as we only had one more day out in the gulf before we would return to the mainland. However, it was a beautiful sunset; a good end to a productive day. You can also see another oil platform on the horizon. There a lot of them in the Gulf of Mexico, our only connection to human civilization.

I love the field days out at sea. They can get nasty, but out there I am free from most of the stresses and anxieties of the mainland. All I have to do is roll with the sea, do my work, and make it back in one piece. And get some great sunrises and sunsets to boot.

© 2018 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.

Rise/Set

 

 

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Shoe Size

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It was a chilly afternoon, the temperature had warmed since the blizzard that plowed through western Virginia, but the snow remained. We had arrived in the mountains an hour or so before sunset. It was just enough time to summit Spy Rock. We were hoping to catch the glimpse of a comet—or maybe it was a planet—visible on the western horizon after the sun fell from view.

A woman accompanied me, my new traveling companion, for a time. She was a beautifully stubborn woman and my new sudden and unexpected crush. I took a stab at building a romance with her; this trip was after my initial failure. I hadn’t entirely given up, but such a desire was put on the back-burner. She trusted me enough to spend a weekend in a cabin in the woods, so I would let the relationship grow as fate would have it. There was already a great friendship, and she was with in this moment, so there was little need to force it.

Spy Rock is quite the site. It is a large collection of boulders sitting on the mountain’s edge. The rocks sit precariously as if they could slide into the valley at any moment. The rocks grant a 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a deep blue or purple landscape in the failing light. It had been a clear day, but, as luck would have it, a blanket of clouds covered the lower western horizon, exactly where the celestial event we came to see would be. Still a fiery band of fading daylight, contrasted with long thin wisps of purple clouds was still a site worthy of the hike. And worthy of the company.

It was a fun, silly evening. In a moment, of exultation at being atop Spy Rock, she forgot which direction was west, which I kindly nodded my head in the direction of the setting sun. Her face contorted in embarrassment and laughter at her obvious mistake.

We were sitting and chatting in view of the setting sun when she took this picture, contrasting my giant feet next to her tiny shoes. Obviously, she was shorter than me. I had nicknamed her Half-Pint because of it. When I had first called her that was probably the time I realized how far I had fallen, because she shot an accusing glance at me and called me “Quart”. Such a small exchange, but that was when everything changed for me.

The picture displays the silliness of the moment and a fond memory, but it also symbolizes the miles we traveled together as our relationship grew and the goofy adventures we had. It is my favorite picture of her and our time together. Moments like these are ephemeral, and soon time and drive sent us on different paths. However, there is always something of her in my life from all we shared: music, a sunset, a mountain hike, or a nightly stroll on a bioluminescent beach. It is amazing how some people, or even moments, alter our entire lives.

Sweet

© 2018 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Chapter Seven: Debriefing

Start the Adventure from the Beginning! Chapter Links: OneTwoThreeFourFiveSix

Eric’s body rocked as the transport landed in the Charon’s hanger bay. His hands robotically unlocked the safety harness once the troops around him began to shuffle out. Eric was in a daze; his head was heavy with the events at the artifact repeating continuously in his head. Emb being shot out of the air, Jensen’s last moment, and the brutal grip of the Curtani that had captured him. Everything else was a blur.

He felt a calm, forceful pull on his shoulder. Eric stood and headed out into the bright lights of the hangar bay. The back of his eyes winced with pressure at the sudden change. He was surrounded by troops, humans. They had risked much to travel into the belly of the Curtani vessel to retrieve him. Obviously, a threatening posture of two human cruisers and a calm, forceful commander, engineered his release. But what about the others? What about every soldier who died on that wretched artifact, so he could live?

Not worthy.

That was the only thing the artifact articulated, in languages everyone could understand. Then it imploded? All that engineering to produce a massive floating installation just to have it collapse in a firefight it didn’t want. Was it looking for a more peaceful first meeting? Perhaps it should have said something earlier. Isn’t that what a more intelligent advanced species would have done?

Eric’s security detail rushed him from the hangar and into the cruiser’s narrow corridors. The lighting in the corridors was dimmer, the pain in his eyes eased. Only his body responded to those around as he kept pace with their march. Eric was still with the dead, with the artifact.

Not worthy.

Of course, a more intelligent and advanced species could just as easily decide that Eric and the others were not worthy of their attention. The artifact may have scanned everyone on that bridge as they fought and died, analyzed DNA sequences, and find every species inferior. Not worthy of further communication.

Not worthy.

And then, the programmed probe would remove all traces of its existence without regard for those dying inside.

Not worthy.

Doors slid open before Eric. A tall, lean woman with brown hair firmly grabbed his arm. The rank of lieutenant was emblazoned on her shoulder. The other troops stood at attention behind him.

A large table spanned the room before Eric. The center of the table was a projecting console that spilled three dimensional images of Forlorn, the planet below them. A failed mining operation had given the planet its moniker, and now a failed first contact scenario had cemented it.

Not worthy.

The room was filled with six highly decorated officers, two of them were corporate presidents, the other four were officers from the two vessels. A familiar, white-haired man at the head stood up as Eric was escorted into the room by the lieutenant at his side. His body did not resist. The older man wore the badge of a three-tiered step pyramid just above his row of medals, the insignia for XenoTech Expeditions, Eric’s employer.

“Eric,” the man said with an uncertain nod.

This was the first time Eric responded. “Jim.” Eric’s voiced cracked and struggled as if he hadn’t spoken in months. “Or is it, President Marsen here?”

President James Marsen managed a weak smile. “After what you have been through, Jim is fine.” Jim presented his hand toward an empty chair closest to Eric. “Please, have a seat.”

One of the younger men to Eric’s left, a captain, spoke once Eric was guided to his seat. “We need your contacts removed.”

“Pardon?” Eric stammered.

“Your contacts, Eric,” Jim repeated with less abruptness than the captain. “All the information they collected can help us come to the bottom of this situation.”

Eric nodded. “Yes, Jim.”

Eric carefully pulled the contacts from his eyes. Although unseen to the human eyes, each contact was a computer, which relayed and stored probably nearly as much information as the human brain. They were used on nearly every human endeavor. They had little intelligence installed on them, but they had a host of testing parameters and sensors for collecting data and linking communication with the people on the ground. Hell, there was enough bio-metric information to tell whether Eric suffered from gas due to disagreeable food.

The captain to his left collected the contacts in a rose quartz tube and capped them. He then turned to Jim. “This could take a few days to go through. Nothing on this vessel, screams research or intelligence vessel.”

“We have some time, until we figure out its next move,” Jim replied.

Its next move? Eric looked up. He was probably slack-jawed. “Pardon, Jim?”

Jim smiled.

The young captain continued. “This is not our first run-in with the artifact.”

Eric was suddenly awake. His stupor broken. Adrenaline poured down his legs like he was a faucet. “We were not told this!” His voice was still weak, an angry stammer.

The captain was undaunted by the outburst. “Stephens knew, he was the only who needed to know, but you are now our point man. Apparently. For the all good it will do us.”

“What?” Eric stood up.

The young captain stood in response. He was taller, Eric could only stare at the captain’s decorated chest.

Eric’s adrenaline failed him, tremors weakened his knees.

Not worthy.

Eric collapsed into his chair.

The captain kneeled over Eric in his chair. “What did you see? Those men who died out there—” he pressed into Eric’s chest with an index finger—“for you, got you further into that construct then any squad before.” The captain twisted his head to meet Eric’s downturned eyes. To Eric, it almost looked like the captain had a serpent-like neck. “What did you see?”

Not worthy.

Eric matched eyes with the captain. His voice was weak, but he said, “Death.”

“Captain Holland, that is enough.” Jim’s quiet, stern voice broke through the tension. “We have all the data we can collect. We will add it to our current library of knowledge.”

Captain Holland stood at attention with a hiss at the word “data”.

“Which isn’t much,” quipped the captain.

“You speak out of turn, captain,” Jim continued.

Captain Holland’s body went rigid at the realization. “Apologies, President Marsen.”

Jim took a breath and nodded to the captain. “At ease.” He gazed around the room. “It is too soon. Dr. Eric Lancer will need some time to recuperate from the experience before we can continue. Everyone is dismissed, except Eric.”

Eric watched as everyone left. The other corporate president eyed locked eyes with Marsen, an accusing glance. The officers stood abruptly and walked passed Eric, the heads held high above him, eyes full of cold disdain. Two gentle taps on his shoulder from the lieutenant behind him was his only connection with humanity in the room before even she left. Marsen remained, tapping his fingers on the back of his chair until the door slid closed. Then the room was silent for an unbearably, yet short, time. Marsen breathed and walked over to Eric and sat on the table. He looked at the repeating images in the center of the table and snapped his fingers. The images went dark.

Eric managed a chuckle. “No need for the snap, Jim. The neural connections of your contacts also connect with the computer systems of the ship and—”

Jim laid a hand on Eric. “I know. I still like a little spectacle. A little flair. Little too stuffy on these vessels.” Jim passed his eyes over the briefing room. “I still miss it sometimes, though.”

Eric chuckled again. “I never knew you then. Good thing, probably. So, this debriefing, your idea, a quick gauge of my fitness? Or was this someone else’s idea?”

Jim looked at his friend in sincere earnest. “No, this whole scenario has made them all anxious. And now with the Curtani involved . . .” Jim shrugged. “Eric, you know why I asked for you?”

“Not certain, because I’m so damn brilliant.”

“Yes, but minus the sarcasm.”

Eric managed a weak smile.

“You are an enthusiastic discoverer. That is the job you chose. You have traveled to dead worlds and found evidence of past life, past civilizations. The blowhards here are looking for a new threat, my fellow presidents—and even I—are looking for another paycheck.”

“You, chasing after money, never.”

Jim raised an eyebrow and shrugged. “I’m simple. Profit is my nature. But not you, your lust lies in discovery. I know how you work, what can you tell me that the data lenses that just left this room cannot?”

Eric casts his eyes at the carpeted floor. “Not much. The motivations behind that artifact are inscrutable. It could be an old device still following some directives given to it by an extinct race or it is some sort of first contact probe. That is all anyone knows. I don’t even know how the Curtani got it opened.”

Not worthy.

“What has got you so somber?”

“Wasn’t expecting a firefight and to lose everyone that was out to help me.”

Jim stood and walked back across the room. “Risks of the trade.”

“Not my trade. Firefights have never been in my line of work.” Eric’s eyes narrowed. “What about the other times? The other times you’ve encountered this probe?”

Jim looked up and leaned his hands on the table.

“You still in this?”

Eric leaned back, his shock beginning to subside. “Depends? Do I get to know everything Lieutenant Stephens knew? I can’t move forward with only a piece of the story.”

Jim smiled. “Indeed.”

© 2018 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.

Inscrutable

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Weathered By Time

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Usually when we think of something as weathered, we see it as being old, worn out, a relic of some past greatness. Maybe, in some ways, this is true, but if you look at the natural world, weathering is a simple another process that connects many aspects of the world. It’s one more process or piece of the earth system. The picture above I took while traveling across the country. I was heading from Virginia to Oregon. I did this for many reasons: an old friend was there, I was going to talk to a professor about a research project, and I just needed to clear my head from life’s small difficulties. I was deep in graduate work and the stress was building. I had made an ill-advised attempt at romance as well. So, I was mentally weathered as well and looking to bleed out my frustration. Driving across that country was that remedy.

The picture was taken from a rest stop in the mountains of Utah. The rugged, carved layers of rock you see are undergoing physical weathering eroded by the high winds that blow through the dry region. You can also see bands of broken debris and even sand or dirt, where the eroded material is deposited. Here the ground is soft and has enough nutrients and water for the small shrubbery to grow there. Over time the root systems of these shrubs dig into the cracks in the rock and further weather the mountain by breaking the rock into soil. They are carving a home for themselves right into the rock. Over time, more plants and animals will begin to call the place home as the mountain is weathered.

Who knows what this place could look like many millions of years from now. The mountains and shrubs will change. The landscape could be vastly different all because of natural weathering processes. The identity of the entire landscape could be altered. Clues will be left behind in the strata of its geological history, but some of it could also be washed away and eroded by climatic changes or suddenly. The point is through all of this changing, these weathering processes, the land doesn’t look back. It can only move forward bound to the relentless forward pace of time.

I am also a time traveler and also bound to only one direction: forward. Time weathers us all, but it is an inevitable process and the desire to fight this process is not worth the pain of your assured failure. In some ways, the influences here are different. The mountain is weathered through natural external forces, while I typically feel mentally weathered due to some connection my mind has with an old memory or a past event, using those moments to define me. Time and age make me feel less weathered than when my mind is filled with perceived failures, past and future. I cannot define myself by a series of past moments and attempt to predict the moments ahead of me. Change doesn’t, thankfully, always bend to my ill-informed will. It just changes. So, I will flow with it. After all, we are but a series of moments connected together by neurons in the brain to make some semblance of a whole. The whole, the self, may even be an illusion, a way for the mind to interpolate a series of events as a linear life to make sense of the complexity. While this may not give many great comfort, it does work for me. So, when I look at something weathered, I see a sense of the fading past, the present, and the possible future. Something new always seems to rise out of the rubble of a mountain. That is a wonder of this world and our short lives.

Weathered

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November Writing Month . . . Again

Hey Everyone,

I am planning to get involved in NaNoWriMo again this year. I hit just over 23000 words last year (although the goal is 50000). The ultimate goal may be hard to hit this year. I have conferences and other science stuff to get through, so we will see. However, I have learned that I can still add the word count of my stories that I post here, so I should be working on bit on my posting schedule as well. Exciting things are on the way. Stay awesome!

CJ

 

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Terror By Sunset

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Very little can get my feet moving quickly across the deck of a ship as when someone says the word, “Shark”. I’m was the kid who grew up with the movie Jaws stuck in my head at a very young age. Most of the people I talk to you (maybe all of them) inform me how that film still makes them frightened of the water. Not me. That movie hit me at the age when I was fascinated by the idea of sea monsters. Jaws was a monster movie to me, until I realized that in terms of the white shark, monsters were real. That started my spiral into the sciences as I devoured every book I could find about sharks and then the ocean.

Which brings me here, on the NOAA vessel the Delaware II. It was June and we were on the last leg of a grueling 25 days out at sea. I worked long house and slept little. The weather had been phenomenal, with fog being the worst weather we experienced on the trip. I was lounging on the back deck, enjoying that last night with absolutely nothing to do, when one of the crew called me over to the starboard railing to look at what he said was a shark. I had seen dolphins and whales a plenty on several trips, but never a shark. The sneaky bastards were always just below the surface, out of my eyesight.

However, this one was not. It was on the surface lazily moving through the calm sunset seas. Its dorsal fin was tall and triangular. A distance behind the caudal swung back and forth in the sea. It was a sizable shark. Something was off though; the dorsal fin was flimsy. Rather than being the resolute dagger breaking the water to bring fear to all who saw Jaws, the fin flopped around in the wind more like a sail than a terror of the sea would have.

This shark wasn’t alone, I soon picked out one behind our vessel and others near the original. An entire school of sharks were soon visible. They were basking sharks. Large sharks to be sure, but only terrors to plankton. They sail through the water, mouths jaws agape, to filter the water and swallow the microscopic bounty the sea offers. And our ship just sailed into a school of them. There were even four that swam next to the hall of the ship. Sadly, this happened before I had a chance to grab my camera.

Soon we also heard and saw flocks of pelagic bird diving into or just above the seas waves to collect their prey as well. A pod of whales soon appeared as well, near the ship and just along the horizon. There was a buffet of plankton awaiting these hunters. For me, it was the perfect last day from a long cruise of 18-hour days, and I got a nice picture of lazy basking shark’s dorsal fin in the glow of the setting sun.

That was a good day.

© 2016 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.

Glow

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Story Updates

Hello!

So I’ve taken some time when my current my work schedule allows to revise the first two chapters of The Artifact. Since they were originally written as a improvised story–and I didn’t expect to write a Chapter Two–I went back and revised the story and characters a bit more. I plan to work on the other chapters and continue the story by using word prompts. Eventually a final product may find its way to Amazon or another outlet, but you, dear readers, get to see the process from the beginning. Hopefully, that is just as exciting as where the story goes.

Until the next update, enjoy the revisions:

Chapter One: Metamorphosis

Chapter Two: A Threat Born from Isolation

 

 

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Update: Hurricane Harvey

I was writing for a bit and work was a beast this summer. However, now a real beast slammed through Texas in the form of a Category 4 hurricane. I had power issues for awhile, but I was pretty much spared the full force of the beast. I will no doubt be helping people recover when and where I can, so I will my hiatus on the site will last a little longer.

Take care, everyone, and if you are on the Texas coast, be safe and help where you can. If your in northeast Texas, Houston, or southern Louisiana, hunker down for a bit. The rain is on its way.

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A Bridge Into Prehistory

Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls, Oregon, is a gorgeous overlook at one of many spectacular falls in the Columbia River Gorge. It is also a glimpse into the ancient world. In geologic terms, the glimpse is fairly recent, mammals were the dominant vertebrates when the Earth laid the groundwork for the tourist attraction. However, it is amazing to be reminded that the world was still a frightening display fire and ice even when mammals dominated the Earth.

Multnomah Falls has carved the rock around it into a curved amphitheater-like structure, displaying the relentless power of water over millions of years. The lichen and moss-covered rock—all 662 feet—is basalt, an igneous rock formed as lava cools. Basalt is more commonly found in ocean basins when lava mingled with the deep ocean waters along the ocean floor.  Island chains, like Hawai’i, are also formed from volcanic basalt. So, what is a basalt canyon doing in Oregon?

The basalt that Multnomah Falls cascades down is part of the Columbia Plateau. This rock formation was formed between 10 to 15 million years ago. Lava poured out across present day Washington, Oregon, and Idaho through cracks in the Earth’s crust. Over millions of years uplift in the region rose the basalt flats, and the Columbia River cut through the area creating the Columbian River Gorge. More recently in geologic history were the Ice Ages. The freeze and thaw cycles during the Ice Age supplied the water that would erode through the basalt to create the spectacular Multnomah Falls. Melting snow and a natural spring, still feed the falls to this day.

This is what you are truly looking when looking at these looking at these pictures. This one post was 15 million years in the making. This is the slow, but relentless, dance of our Earth.

In 2014, a year after I took these pictures, a large piece of rock broke free from the falls and damaged the railing and bridge walkway. It was repaired, but it is a reminder that these processes will continue and everything will be unrecognizable in another 15 million years.

Bridge

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Benson Bridge just above the base of the Falls.

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Looking over Benson Bridge to the Falls below

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Looking out at the main Falls and the basalt canyon behind it

© 2016 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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