Fractures are cracks in the structure, unpredictable paths, sudden surprises opening before the eyes, coming apart in unexpected places, stopping transition, destroying integrity and wholeness, becoming parts pieces jagged edges irregular random sharp jagged, coming apart at the seams, bleeding for a while, fresh raw surface revealing underneath, letting fluid in and out, cleansing healing infection pus gangrene sore pain awareness of break damage bandage repair bind waiting to heal slowing down patience impatience unable to perform as usual reminder of frailty mortality morality immortality altruistic youth ego performance age aging fragility bone porous osteoporosis losing mass less dense skeleton breaking down effervescence froth pumice calcium carbonate bubbles vesicles voids spirits form…
Erosion is the passage of time. Fractures are rites of passage. A time of attention to, to be paid attention to. A jarring from the stasis of innocence, of unawareness, passing on and leaving behind, assuming another form, letting go of the strength of physical body, breaking down into essentials, a concentration of the essence of structure.
In rocks erosion releases the essences breaking it down into elements. Exposed to air, to atmosphere, particles break away; fall into basins and down slopes, gathering in pediments, in estuaries, in arroyos, at sea bottoms, concentrating in layers forming sedimentary deposits.
Where do rocks fracture? Along the weakest plane or surface. When struck with a rock hammer pieces come away not always as expected. The unexpected place of fracture is the weakest plane, the place that felt the most force, the surface that succumbed, gave in, let go…’To crack under pressure’ is a release of the tension, a relief from the tension that holds everything together.
When is it time to fracture? When the tension of holding on is too powerful to resist. Even holding on to the limit of endurance, something in the structure gives way. Emotions break, alter, succumb to force. A broken spirit is a fracture. Is the moment of letting go, releasing the tension, allowing fracture conscious, a choice, or does pain dictate that moment?
Although her body is a fine physical specimen, brown and lean, without excess, inside the pain wears away at her, gnawing with questions, seeking answers. Why has she abandoned what she loved? What is most important? Wanting to be whole, to be circular, to be content, is that what forces her to fracture along unpredictable planes? Is there time for everything? Or, is she too like the rocks breaking down, wearing away, eroding to the essences? Bearing and raising children, her mother says, takes the rough edges off. Are we all eroding each other? Is there grace in the process?
Sculpture, creating the final form, is additive and subtractive. A fracture reduces, diminishes, subdues, alters, and, through pressure, reminds. A fracture heals, releases, creates a new pathway. It is additive and subtractive.
In the process of ‘breaking rock’, a prospector is a sculptor.
Fracture: If you strike a mineral or rock with a geological hammer and it breaks, leaving surfaces which are rough and uneven, it is said to fracture. Cleavage surfaces are usually flat and exactly the same shape may be produced by repeated hammer blows. This is not so with fracture. Most minerals fracture and cleave, but some will only fracture. Common fracture terms are uneven, conchoidal (shell-like), hackly (jagged), and splintery.
Cleavage: Cleavage is the way a mineral breaks along well-defined planes of weakness. Often these planes are between layers of atoms or other places where the atomic bonding is weakest. Cleavage surfaces are not perfectly smooth like crystal faces, though they are very consistent and reflect light evenly. Cleavage is described as perfect, distinct, indistinct or none.
NEXT WEEK: The Art of Prospecting: Vignette IV