by Alfred Lehmberg
Think about the unconscious (?), but artful, effects of erosion on the surface of our planet spaceship Earth... Millions of years of some ceaseless something, doing something ceaselessly to the face of our globe... and all globes to one degree... or another!
On most, livid Magma gushes from tortured fissures! The Earth's crust shatters violently into raggedly ravaged "plates" shifting chaotically! Grinding by one another in its catastrophic chaos of stress and torture, attempting to rid themselves of the terrible excess heat, they prepare nature's canvas for an ageless kind of macroscopic artistry... art far older, even, than the age of our indifferent star! Water, we note, has always been water, too.
Concurrently in the hell-scape, one would observe torrential rains eat away at our forever evolving landscape like a hungry acid shower driven by the energy of creation—gravity! The inconstant extremes of heedless Sol further turns that stone-carving rainwater into tiny little "tool" mechanisms of timeless irresistibility—hammers and chisels ceaselessly contracting and expanding microscopic levers. These "hammers and chisels" of hydraulic irresistibility, working busily and unceasingly to sculpt the tormented surface of our rocky starship, render what can only be called natural works of art!
It is the water, finally, used like trillions upon trillions of tiny stone-affecting tools—shaping, restructuring, and reinventing the rocky masterpieces of our singular planet home. Some of the art produced by this profoundly perfect process suggests the (immodest) spire of the Washington Monument even, but, as an artist who can carve the whole of a planet's face with her knowing fingers... erosion is capable of much GRANDER artifice!
Beneath the tortured fissures mentioned earlier huge columns of the aforementioned magma rise! These battering lava flows insistently fracture the overlying rock with tremendous extremes—diamond-producing—pressures, and (finally!) spew forth into the open air as monstrously expressed and exploding GOUTS of liquid rock, boiling mud, and choking ash! Seen from above, it is Nature casually preparing to throw her monumental statuary!
The smoke-belching studios of her violent artistry run for eons, pushing the plastic rock higher and farther up into the centers of these angry mountains intruded—time passes and proud peaks are torturously produced... peaks with harder centers waiting to be exposed...
Time does, what it does. What inexorable means.
...Millions of years after these eruptions have ceased, the weaker exteriors of these extinct volcanoes have worn away to the ceaseless manipulations of their inexorable water craftsman... Then...
Revealed, reader! Previously buried, but now sky pointing, rocky interiors of breathtaking statuary! Hundreds of feet tall, they rise into the air like stony skyscrapers dwarfing the latter. The air howls and moans around them noisily like ephemeral companies of lost artistic souls... and time marches on!
These tough vertical interiors stand alone, at last (after millions of years), like the (too rudely) phallic Washington monument already described... unrepentant rocky columns of ancient basalt accusing the indifferent sky with rigid and unwavering fingers!
Returning abruptly to the ubiquitous water craftsman, and owing to water's peculiar ability to be at its most dense four WHOLE degrees above the point at which it freezes solid—a miracle (and why frozen water floats!)—it is the water used to shape and carve these monuments as only water can. It is the water—finally—constituting the real tool of this not-so-subtle artist of erosion! The proudly pointing pillars that the water creates, remain... chiseled from the surrounding weaker rock and leaving these unwavering stony structures as extant... like the unsung supports of the sky itself!
Similar pillars, monuments, or columns can be found on the surface of the moon. ...Wait. What? ...Tilt!
Yes. Consider the moon.
Stasis is a word synonymous with her lunar body. Her surface remains unchanged and unmoving but for the chance meteoric affliction or the shuffling feet of the—too-rarely-present—astronaut.
Virtually changeless, the only things that regularly MOVE on her silent lunar face are the sharp-edged shadows created by the unrestricted sun—hard cornered but insubstantial wraiths our star chases around as it bakes her previously distressed and pockmarked still-life surface. A lover's heart drawn in the dead gray dust of her lunar soil will likely outlast all the earthly pyramids and, even, the inexorable seas that wash those pyramids away...
There is no atmosphere to carry the wind-borne tools of erosion's artistry on our moon. There is no water casually moved around to be used as tiny rock scarring levers.
Little, or no, lunar volcanic activity PRECLUDES the formation of the rocky lava towers to begin with—irrespective of this dearth of erosive mechanisms to dig them away! Yet, they ARE there!
What are they?
. . . Somebody knows!