Utah Reclamation Project
One practical solution for the utilization of such devastated places
would be land and water re-cycling in terms of ‘earth art.’
As we pass through one of the largest mines in the world
A word of caution:
Please wear goggles and proper safety equipment.
Watch carefully for abstractions of technology.
Keep away from rapidly moving machinery,
Live explosives, high voltage power cables.
Beware momentary paralysis.
Avoid falling rocks.
In 1906, this was a mountain,
A disposable universe of molten rock;
This codified nullity,
This monument of total annihilation.
This vast pluton of involuntary memory,
Was a Gift from Nature.
Sources of the metals are enticingly obscure:
Tendrils of steam percolated through limestone,
Veinlets of dark-luminescent quartz
Burrowed into micro fractures,
The stink of sulfuric acid
Perfumed this lost gilded age —
There were such abundances of economic elements!
Copper, molybdenum, silver, lead-zinc ore,
Now exhausted gold placers reposed in streambeds,
Glimmering like lost wristwatches.
All of the essential elements
That make modern living possible
Have now been excavated.
Only the massive earthwork remains,
This enormous open pit
That visually dominates the area of this field trip
Dragging one’s sightline downwards
Into an inexorable whorl,
Only the gift shop where you can purchase
Souvenir salt & pepper shakers
Made from copper mined right here
Returned to us from overseas
Cast in the symmetrical shape of the Twin Towers,
As you adjust your headphones
Listen for the low-frequency rumbling of a rock avalanche
A deep bass rumble, swelling dustcloud drumroll,
Man-made earthquake elastic waves trembling
Through the pulsing soles of your shoes
Followed by three sharp high frequency gunshots,
(Sounds that only dogs can hear;
We have sped up the recording for your listening pleasure)
We are standing at the bottom of this rich hole
Slowly turning like a giant vinyl record
Rotating on a vintage turntable,
Music of the Spheres
Blasts like ammonium nitrate
While we watch the Earth reclaim the void,
Venomous yellow wasterock exfoliates,
Snakes into a landslide,
In that turbid moment of frozen time
Before all becomes less than nothing.
Amy Brunvand is a librarian, writer, and part-time nature mystic from Salt Lake City, Utah. She agrees with Edward Abbey that the environmental movement needs more poets and fewer lawyers (even though some of her best friends are lawyers).
Mary Donahue (Artist) grew up playing outside in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and moved to Logan, Utah at 18 for college. She is currently a professor of art at Chadron State College in the middle of nowhere NW Nebraska. http://www.csc.edu/directory/
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