The Mid-Atlantic Ridge, July 5 2016

Geologists will tell you in intro classes that divergent boundaries are straight lines, dividing one side of the earth from another. Geologists will also tell you, when you’ve spent another year or two studying science, that they’ve lied.

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge isn’t a neat line where a bridge can connect two continental plates. It’s messy. The boundary jumps across the island, striking it through with valleys. It creates a transition zone. A place where the land is both North American and Eurasian, but also neither one by itself.

I understand, of course, why science and English have to be separated on school grounds. It would be difficult to teach the concept of birefringence alongside a discussion about the purpose of poetry. It could be done. I know it could be done, but that takes time and planning and work.

Rocks line the edges of the desk I write on. Icelandic basalt. Pennsylvanian sandstone. Devonian shale. And tucked away in a labeled bag, I have two small rocks from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Little baby rocks, whose vesicles are not filled with dry moss. I only take them out occasionally to remember and remind myself of the messiness.

Of the transition zone where two different things are the same, and have been the whole time.

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