Feeling mighty fine
Feeling mighty fine at this time, yes I am
Feeling mighty fine
Feeling mighty fine at this time, yes indeed
I really couldn’t describe the mood any better. Not only does the Mighty Fine Blues by the
Eels capture how amazing yesterday, along with the whole past week, was, it
also has the added bonus of being from the soundtrack of the movie Holes. That might not seem like anything special or important, but
when we were on our geology trip to the mud flats, digging holes in the middle
of the desert to study how the ocean level had progressed over time, the
reminisce to the book (and movie) Holes
could not be ignored. I just had
to use the song.
Yesterday, we traveled to the Sabkha, a coastal area where the tide levels change, leaving behind a chronological soil layering record. After a long drive into the middle of nowhere, we hoped off the bus, to the surprising crunch of gastropod shells under our feet. In the midst of the desert, under the hot sun, with sand in all directions you don’t expect to find seashells.
Our geologist guide explained how, depending on the time of year, the water (which wasn’t even visible on the horizon) would actually reach the area where we were standing. We then embarked out onto the mud flats or salt flats depending on who you asked. Both terms were tossed around so much yesterday, I’m not sure where the distinction lies. I suppose we could just say muddy salt flats, or salty mud flats, or I guess just flats would circumvent the entire issue. Alright then, we headed out onto the flats.
The geologist explained the different layers of the flats, the hard ground, microbial mat, anhydride layers, gypsum, and many more whose technical names I would butcher if I even attempted to spell them. It was extremely fascinating, especially after learning that this area would eventually be an oil field. You’d just have to wait several hundred thousand years for the microbial mats to build up with other layers. It was like going back long before humans had tramped across the area, let alone started drilling, and seeing the very beginnings of how our oil and petroleum dependence formed. Learning about all the geology helped make our trip seem like a full circle. We’d already seen one way in which our oil dependence could lead us, to a society more respectful and aware of the planet we share – more appreciative of the natural beauty of the flats that gave rise to the oil we currently crave, and now we had a chance to see how it all began. It still seems crazy that it all started out with some mud.
Learning about all the geology of the area was extremely interesting, and definitely made course 12 (earth atmosphere and planetary science) seem especially appealing, but just as much fun was frolicking about in the knee high mud and simply getting covered in grit and slime. It was the perfect balance between my inner 5 year old, craving the natural outdoor griminess, and, what I like to think is the curiosity of my MIT student side, craving to learn. Somehow, the squish of mud between my toes just makes me feel mighty fine.
After a wonderful day under the hot sun (with thankfully little sunburn), we returned to our hotel with a wonderful encasing shell of dried mud and an interesting aroma. We spent what remained of the afternoon splashing in the ocean and just enjoying one another’s company. We capped the day off with a barbecue on the beach and stayed up late under the stars for our last real night together. It was slightly bittersweet, knowing our trip was reaching its end, yet I could not have asked for better company to pass the night with.