A Day For Some Minerals, Part 2.

In the preceding post, I mentioned that I had sold my mineral collection to Ryan Christianson, the mineral man of eBay.  Ryan was kind enough to take some photos of some of the minerals, so I could have them for my memories.  Thus, I decided to post some of his photos along with some of mine to offer tribute to a hobby that began when I was about three-years-old.  I can still see myself looking along the Rogue River bed, searching for agates and jaspers.  Then, when I was a teenager, I went to the Crestmore Quarry.  I remember I was only allowed to collect for five minutes.  However, Grandma and I brought back some interesting blue calcite specimens.  There are many recollections of walking around in the Mojave Desert in 100+ weather with a pick and shovel, wearing protective glasses.  I am grateful for the time I spent in this exciting hobby, which led me to some fascinating acquaintances.  I hope that the photos awaken a further desire in you to investigate the world of minerals.

Celestite xl cluster, 10.2 cm x 7.6 cm x 7.6 cm. Location unknown.

Celestite xl cluster, 10.2 cm x 7.6 cm x 7.6 cm. Location unknown.

Purple cubes of fluorite, 22.9 cm x 10.2 cm x 10.2 cm, Ontario.

Purple cubes of fluorite, 22.9 cm x 10.2 cm x 10.2 cm, Ontario.

Lepidolite_ large cluster of small light lavender cylindrical books, 15.2 cm x 12.5 cm x 10.2 cm. Location unknown.

Lepidolite_ large cluster of small light lavender cylindrical books, 15.2 cm x 12.5 cm x 10.2 cm. Location unknown.

Fluorite_ group of coffee-colored cubic xls, 11.4 cm x 6.4 cm x 6.4 cm, Ottawa County, Ohio.

Fluorite_ group of coffee-colored cubic xls, 11.4 cm x 6.4 cm x 6.4 cm, Ottawa County, Ohio.

Adamite_ olive green spherical xls on matrix, 8.3 cm x 7.0 cm x 4.4 cm, Ojuela Mine, Mexico.

Adamite_ olive green spherical xls on matrix, 8.3 cm x 7.0 cm x 4.4 cm, Ojuela Mine, Mexico.

Epidote_ black green tabular cluster, 3.8 cm x 2.5 cm x 5.1 cm, Baja California, Mexico.

Epidote_ black green tabular cluster, 3.8 cm x 2.5 cm x 5.1 cm, Baja California, Mexico.

Fluorite_ large sky blue cube, 12.5 cm x 7.6 cm x 10.2 cm. Location Unknown.

Fluorite_ large sky blue cube, 12.5 cm x 7.6 cm x 10.2 cm. Location Unknown.

Stilbite_ group of salmon-colored xls, 17.8 cm x 7.6 cm x 6.4 cm, Scotland.

Stilbite_ group of salmon-colored xls, 17.8 cm x 7.6 cm x 6.4 cm, Scotland.

Sphalerite w/Calcite and Chalcopyrite on Dolomite, 10.2 cm x 7.6 cm x 5.1 cm. Location unknown.

Sphalerite w/Calcite and Chalcopyrite on Dolomite, 10.2 cm x 7.6 cm x 5.1 cm. Location unknown.

Another view of specimen above.

Another view of specimen above.

Andradite Garnet var. Demantoid_ small cluster of sparkling light green xls on matrix, 7.6 cm x 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm, Ural Mountains, Russia. Photo by RC.

Andradite Garnet var. Demantoid_ small cluster of sparkling light green xls on matrix, 7.6 cm x 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm, Ural Mountains, Russia. Photo by RC.

Chrysoberyl_ yellow-green xls, 3.2 cm x 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm, Brazil. Photo by RC.

Chrysoberyl_ yellow-green xls, 3.2 cm x 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm, Brazil. Photo by RC.

Elbaite var. Rubellite. Photo by RC

Elbaite var. Rubellite. Photo by RC.

Elbaite var. Schorl_ large spray of black xls, 8.9 cm x 6.4 cm x 7.6 cm. Location unknown. Photo by RC.

Elbaite var. Schorl_ large spray of black xls, 8.9 cm x 6.4 cm x 7.6 cm. Location unknown. Photo by RC.

Datolite_ colorless to light green xl group, 10.2 cm x 6.6 cm x 5.1 cm, New Jersey. Photo by RC.

Datolite_ colorless to light green xl group, 10.2 cm x 6.6 cm x 5.1 cm, New Jersey. Photo by RC.

Sulfur_ group of xls on Aragonite, 17.8 cm x 10.2 cm x 8.3 cm, Sicily. Photo by RC.

Sulfur_ group of xls on Aragonite, 17.8 cm x 10.2 cm x 8.3 cm, Sicily. Photo by RC.

Witherite_ large colorless- yellow spherical growth, 15.2 cm x 8.9 cm x 7.6 cm, Arkansas. Photo by RC.

Witherite_ large colorless- yellow spherical growth, 15.2 cm x 8.9 cm x 7.6 cm, Arkansas. Photo by RC.

Torbernite_ bright cluster of green blade xls, Bete Noir, France. Photo by RC.

Torbernite_ bright cluster of green blade xls, Bete Noir, France. Photo by RC.

Aurichalcite_ turquoise blue growths, 10.2 cm x 5.1 cm x 3.8 cm, Mexico. Photo by RC.

Aurichalcite_ turquoise blue growths, 10.2 cm x 5.1 cm x 3.8 cm, Mexico. Photo by RC.

Benitoite_ cluster of blue xls, 7.6 cm x 7.6 cm x 3.8 cm, San Benito, California. Photo by RC.

Benitoite_ cluster of blue xls, 7.6 cm x 7.6 cm x 3.8 cm, San Benito, California. Photo by RC.

A Day For Some Minerals, Part 1.

I woke up this morning and thought about minerals, quartz in particular.  Why quartz?  For one thing, about two out of every three steps we take will be on silicon dioxide, or quartz.  Although quite common, it occurs in many colors and forms.  Quartz sometimes appears in striking crystal formations that have the grandeur of fairy tale kingdoms and palaces.  As for color, quartz runs the gamut–from smoky quartz to sparkling amethyst.  Just a simple change in the chemical formula for quartz will do the trick to turn rose quartz into citrine.  Heat also plays a role as does the interaction of different elements.  And suddenly, the most common mineral becomes an object of wonder.

Towering spires of quartz crystals.

Towering spires of quartz crystals with the blade of a Japanese twin sticking out on the right. 

A magnificent array of majestic quartz crystals

A magnificent array of majestic quartz crystals.

Amethyst arises from impurities of iron and manganese.

Amethyst arises from impurities of iron and manganese.

An impressive array of amethyst crystals.

An impressive cluster of amethyst crystals.

Amethyst in botryoidal form.

Amethyst in botryoidal form.

A Visit To Placerita Canyon State Park

Last Friday, Glenn Malapit and I took a trip to lower Placerita Canyon State Park.  This is the area of the nature center that offers a series of short hikes around the canyon.  Placerita Canyon was the site of the first California Gold Rush in 1842 when a hired hand, Francisco Lopez of the Rancho San Francisco, discovered flakes of gold.  But today, that memory has faded, and the canyon is known for its branching trees, boulder formations and creek beds.  Scrub oak, and huge sprawling oak trees abound, with sycamore and willow where the shade is plentiful.  What struck me were the magnificent patterns of dark branches against a blue sky.  The rocks, mostly quartz, feldspar, and gneiss, with gleaming biotite mica, provided their own wondrous forms.  The area is quite dry and exposed, so a coolish day is recommended for extensive walking.

When Glenn and I arrived, there were bus loads of children with teachers ready to introduce the kids to the natural world.  Most of the children walked around in the nature center to view samples of natural phenomena and to hear talks on the special features of the park.  It was not quiet, but children add their own qualities to the park experience.  The photos below reveal some aspects of Placerita Canyon, but one needs to go there to appreciate its bounties.IMG_6252IMG_6257IMG_6258IMG_6261IMG_6264IMG_6267 IMG_6272IMG_6280 IMG_6283IMG_6291IMG_6300

The Journey Begins…

“Grandma, when you die, will they bury you?”

“Yes.”

“Very deep.”

“Yes.”

“Then I’ll just dig you up again!”  —–Kornei Chukovskij From Two To Five

The journey, which would eventually lead to The Magicians Of Form, started in childhood.  For the book represents a synthesis of the many conversations I had with my Dad and Grandma  Lillian about forms that I encountered throughout my life.  In retrospect, I believe there was an unseen path that was guiding me to complete that book.  Little did I know it, but these apparently innocuous discussions held the seeds of a definite future purpose.

To understand the determination and courage needed to finish the volume, I have to look back to a now distant world:  a world before abstract reasoning had taken firm hold, and banished me from an all-inclusive world.  A world in which sensations, colors, sounds, and forms enticed with a vividness, excitement, and spontaneous directness that become dulled in adulthood.

To go to that special place, I need to summon memory as my guide.  Fragments of thoughts and images fly into my mind:  pine cones scattered along a path, a night sky covered with sparkling stars, the rough red of jasper, sand painting, sticker albums, wooden puzzles of a bus, and Old King Cole, a record player on the ground spinning music, farm lotto, water-colored flowers, The Golden Book of Children’s Verse, and, one verse in particular:  “When I grow up, I will carry a stick, and be very dignified.  I will have a watch that will really tick.  I will have a tall house that is built of brick.  And no one will guess that it’s just a trick, and I’m really myself inside.”, The Big Ball Of StringThe Big Jump And Other Stories, and Gillespie And The Guards( in which a child outwits adults in power), The Five Chinese Brothers(in which every brother has a special skill to keep him from harm), arithmetic problems with shiny colored dots, glasses of lemonade, scoops of chocolate ice cream, dragging a watering can to create my own river in the sandy beach,  Grandma’s Archie the Chipmunk bednight stories, making a miniature golf course out of my parents’ lawn, climbing walnut trees, listening to Walt Disney’s The Grasshopper and the Ants, dancing to Tchaikovsky’s Overture Miniature from the Nutcracker Suite and watching the falls of Lone Pine Creek…

“How high is high?”

Grandma said I asked this question when I was four-years-old.  It was the start of many questions I had about the surrounding world.  My special path was unraveling before me.  The hour glass of time was running.  The journey begins…

Lower Takelma Rapid Packs A Wallop For Inner Tubers

Lower Takelma Rapid, just below Takelma Park, packs a real wallop for inner tubers.  The rapid begins with an innocuous rock bar that occurs to the right of an island.  Tubers need to pull to the left as they pass over the bar, because the right current will take them into a tree and an overhanging bush that are close to the right bank.  Nevertheless,  tubers will find themselves on the right.  Now they must pull hard to the left to dodge a waterfall over a ledge on the right, and, in particular, avoid a nasty boulder at the left end of the ledge.  Then they will drop a few feet into some truly large waves.(At high water the waves converge to form a huge hole, which must be dodged to avoid a swim.)  Tubers will need to balance themselves as they climb the steep waves until they encounter calmer water downstream.

The rapid has an interesting history, and the current rapid is a relative newcomer, having been formed by high spring water just a few years before.  As long as I can remember, the river always split into different channels and some of them were so shallow that a child could ford them easily.  As this was one of Dad’s favorite steelhead holes, I often did just that.  An hour to a restless child is a long time and I recall wading the shallow bars around me in search of a shiny jasper or multicolored agate.  Often I was more fortunate than Dad, and the bottom of the raft was littered with shiny minerals.  Over the years the river continued to push the bars down, culminating finally in the threatening Lower Takelma Rapid.  The imprints of children’s feet on the sand bars have become a mere memory.

Just A Chinese Proverb For Mineral Collectors

I couldn’t resist the following Chinese proverb courtesy of The Mineralogical Record:

The river that does not have stone will not be clear.

The garden that does not have stone will not be beautiful.

The room that does not have stone will not be elegant.

And the person who does not have stone will not be eminent.IMG_5172

Random Thoughts

14 years have passed since I closed Medford Education International, Inc.(MEI,Inc.).  It is curious that the last proposed project was a symposium devoted to the work of Polish educator, and children’s writer, Janusz Korczak.  Recently, I completed a three act play based one one of Korczak’s novels, King Machush the First.  So life repeats itself or reappears in different guise.  Also, I have written fragments of plays, but have not completed one since childhood.  Two musical plays were performed at Murietta and Highland Hot Springs and Riverside Drive Elementary School.  There was also a performance in Grandma Lillian’s backyard.  Afterwards, the cast enjoyed a glorious swim in her swimming pool.  However, Jonathan Micas, and One Week in a Policeman’s Life were distinctly juvenile efforts, and until now I haven’t given them a second thought.  I did write a series of short plays, including an unfinished one about Native Americans, a subject my father held dear.  The others represented the interests I had:  reading, baseball, minerals(The Pacoima Canyon Mystery).  I adapted Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory into play form, which was given a reading by my 7th grade English class.  And my fascination with mysteries led me to adapt The Mystery of the False Fingertips into a play.  So, many years later I’m looking at a play manuscript of 51 pages, double-spaced of another adaptation.  What is strange is that the work touches on the recent history of MEI, and childhood memory at the same time.  The play is like a bright light that is illuminating dark, forgotten passages of my mind.  Janusz Korczak reawakens my interest in foreign educators, which was so important to MEI.  He also reacquaints me with the play form, which invigorated, and watched over my childhood.”Curiouser and curiouser.”