asphalt for archæologists
Friday, April 21 2006
Ever since reading James Michener's The Source when I was thirteen or fourteen, I've always thought about land as a vast memory device with the capacity to recollect everything that happens on it. Obviously it remembers some things much better than others. For example, the perfectly-sinusoidal path of a half-inch-wide worm on a slab of yellowish-grey bluestone I found 50 feet from the southwest corner of the house has faded only a little in the subsequent 400 million years. It's also stayed pretty much in the same place on the North American continental mass, having made its most spectacular journey only a year ago. That was when I split the slab into two Nevada-shaped sheets, carried them 70 feet northward, and used them to as part of the bluestone pavement for the front walkway.
Future archæologists will encounter plenty of interesting things should they ever meticulously peel part the landscape around our house in Hurley. In some places they'll find the compressed chalky remains of old gypsum drywall (complete with rusty old drywall screws and nails), and in others they'll find thick deposits of Esopus Valley sand or cobblestones. But most peculiar of all will be the deposits of asphalt driveway fragments. Today I disposed of the asphalt from the latest ditch by burying in a low spot just west of the parking area. The turf in this area was thin and lay directly on top of the bedrock, so I just peeled it up and inserted the asphalt as an additional layer to perplex future archæologists. For all I know they might be the descendants of crows or dandylions.
A 400 million year old sinusoidal worm path on a piece of bluestone that I used to pave a path a year ago (moistened to increase its visibility).
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