Friday, December 25, 2009

kaali, estonia

it is from the atoms present on this planet that living systems assembled themselves and evolved. each atom in our own bodies had its origin in the enormous explosion 10 to 20 billion years ago. you and I are flesh and blood, but we are also stardust. -Helena Curtis
This past semester I took an astronomy class. This was to fulfill my final math and science requirements for being a journalism major- Quantitative Reasoning 2 and Life Science 2. The title 'Astronomy 121- The Solar System' seemed fairly unintimidating, with the potential to even be interesting. I was completely wrong on both of these assumptions. It was comprised mainly of math equations for distances, angles, and ages as well as chemical breakdowns of different parts of the universe. Needless to say, I did not excel.

One day in class, toward the end of the semester, we were talking about meteorite craters. I did not have very much background on the topic since the chapter in the book about the difference between meteors, meteorites and meteroids had not particularly interested me. Despite my usual trend of zoning out and thinking about the record company that I would rush over to as soon as class was dismissed, this topic caught my attention. My professor displayed a picture of a meteorite crater on the overhead projector. The impact had left a very deep circular indent that had filled with water and eventually become overgrown with plants and foliage. The picture fascinated me- I couldn't stop thinking about the actual sequence of the meteorite crashing into the earth and shattering through the earth's crust. And then the indent filling with rainwater and becoming its own microcosm of wildlife. Replaying this sequence in my mind, rewinding and fast-forwarding, occupied my mind for the rest of the class.

In 6th grade, we had a substitute teacher for an extended period of time when our original teacher had surgery. The substitute was the mother of one of my classmates, and was laid-back and progressive in her approach to teaching us. I was very interested in creative writing at the time and enjoyed the assignments she gave us. One time, though, she gave us what I thought to be a very remedial and juvenile project. I rolled my eyes openly, and she noticed. She then asked me what I thought a better assignment would be. If this proposition was meant to insinuate that I should be more respectful and not question her methods, this was not how I took it. I suggested that she let us write a short story of our own without creativity-stifling guidelines. For some reason, she said that this was actually an agreeable idea, and told the class to follow suit.

I wrote my short story about my best friend and I, under the aliases 'Deirdre' and 'Kay.' In this story (the first of several installments) we escaped our orphanage in London only to be transported by freefall to a magical forest. In the forest was a circular pond, sparkling blue and endowed with magical powers of its own, as well as the ability to determine whether the forest would be consumed by evil or by good. The story was called 'Deirdre and Kay and the Pool of Magic.' If I could find this story now, it would really help to add rhyme and reason to the subsequent installments of Deirdre and Kay's adventures.
My astronomy class that day brought me back to my adventures with Kay. Obviously, the free fall that led us to pool of magic had been caused by the impact of the meteorite hitting the earth. The vibrations sent through the crust of the earth after the meteorite had hit had catapulted us from London to Kaali, Estonia where the crater was. The sight of the impact had immediately filled with the magical water that emerged from the outer mantle of the earth. The water then permeated the land around the impact and allowed the magical forest to develop. I can't believe that didn't come to me until that class. I wonder when the background to 'Deirdre and Kay Meet the Snow Queen' will hit me. Maybe in a zoology class, because they commandeered a river to her castle using a lion to help pull their raft.

dark water & stars

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