Monday, January 19, 2015

January 19, 2015 - Pangaea

The January thaw has arrived, and 35 degree (F) weather seems almost like a heat wave.  What would have made us shiver in the early fall now makes us want to pull our coats off and go for long walks.  I kept my coat on because I did not want to fall victim to what my mother used to call “fool’s weather.”  It claims victims every year with people running out dressed lightly, only to end up sick in a day or so from too much exposure to cold.  Ah, but cold doesn’t cause illness, you say, germs do.  And I say cold plays a much greater part than we might imagine.

But I went for a nice long walk along the Androscoggin River.  I noticed how quickly the ice breaks up and begins to drift and the water flows again.  Of course, it will freeze again when the January thaw is over.  We haven’t even reached February yet--the true test of strength.  I’ve always said that if you can make it through February in Maine, you can make it through anything.

Pangaea breaks and continental drift begins.

There it was, though.  Do you see the Pangaea of the ice?  It broke apart like a large puzzle piece.  As I gazed at it, I immediately thought of Pangaea, that supercontinent that existed millions of years ago on the Earth.  Pangaea was formed when many continents (no longer in existence) smashed into one another, creating many of our current mountain ranges throughout the world and making a huge land mass.  Thus Pangaea was born, and there is good evidence for it having existed, as well as other prior supercontinents.  Then in the Jurassic period, the great Pangaea began to rift and separate.  It took over a hundred million years to finally do so, but eventually it broke up and continental drift occurred, leaving us with the Earth we see today.

So there is my Pangaea of ice on the Androscoggin River.  It will drift and then collide with other giant pieces of ice, forming little ice mountains.  Then my Pangaea will freeze again into a super-ice-continent, only to drift yet again.  And it all happens--the formation and destruction and reconfiguration--in the span of a few months, the macrocosm and the microcosm perfectly mirroring one another on a grander or lesser scale as the case may be, but certainly repeating the same process.  It’s one of the secrets of creation.  He with ears, let him hear.

The colliding of ice sheets has caused ice mountains to form.

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