The Native Road to the Deep North V

June 21

Last night, it thunderstormed. It’s still raining when we set out in the morning to the college under dark and screaming skies. Today, we ferry nearly seventy native high school students to the Castle Mountain fault we visited yesterday, to set their fingers on this wide jutting teeth of rocks where the earth has cracked apart. This is where the earth has moved, swallowing itself like an ouroboros, and lain bare the parts of its body that didn’t want to go under.

NativeRoad-V-1The members of our party who can speak geology bring them out here to the fault and translate the land. They point at the granite boulders in the river below us and they point at the conglomerate of rocks in the fault, and they show us how this terrain has evolved since the raven delivered light to the people long ago, and how it will continue to change.

Rock whispers—
whose hot knives in the earth
cut out the continents?

NativeRoad-V-2 NativeRoad-V-3Other members of our party stay at the buses and talk to the students about everything they can be and everything they can do if they only imagine it. We are here to share dreams, after all, and while theirs spill out before us in every part of the landscape and the living memory of this part of the world, we can only try to convey ours in the spoken tales we tell of science and technology and engineering and mathematics and that convoluted world of academics. It takes a strong heart to walk in two worlds, but I know, someday, it will put a smile on our faces to see them engineer an even better dream than what little glimpses we can show them.

Kyle Bemis,
Ph.D. Student, Statistics

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