Monday, March 8, 2010

Geopoetry Over At The Yucca Mountain

Yucca mountain, Nevada - the plan to use it as a long term storage of America's nuclear waste has been indefinitely nixed. Creative writing professor John D'Agata has written a book about it called About a Mountain and he reads a passage from it on Talk Of The Nation:
Beyond the trees, the haze of heat listed over desert. Fifty wavy miles, then highway strip, then miles. Then black encrusted ridges bumping silently from earth. So, Josh said, what do you think? Of what, I asked? Of Yucca, he said. Where? Straight ahead. Where? That low range. Really, I asked?

Yucca Mountain isn't pretty. And it also isn't large. From far away, the mountains just a squat bulge in the middle of the desert, essentially just debris from a bigger, stronger mountain that erupted millions of years ago and hurled its broken pieces into piles across the earth. The Shoshone say that Yucca is the carcass of a snake, a giant desert creature that was trying to find a drink collapsed there in exhaustion, rotted as it died. Better a cruel truth, Edward Abbey once wrote, than a comfortable delusion.

So we climbed the mountain higher and the spruce begin to wither and the bristlecones to gather, and the pitch of trail sharpened, and the edge of ridge straightened, and the soil whisked off limestone sheets and loosened them to shingles. Joshua pulled my mother quickly in front of him and said, watch it here, the path is narrow, as the path ahead began to fade and then it disappeared.

A proposed nuclear waste site can also inspire...geo-lit?

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