Earth Shifter

A habit carried over from childhood includes the "shifting" of the earth around me. I'm not sure how or why this habit started, but I have amassed a sizable collection of rocks and soils from many places. I make it a point to pick up a rock, a vial of sands or pinch of dirt beneath my feet. Perhaps this habit is a manifestation of an iron deficiency (note to self: schedule a health check-up).

With current homeland security regulations, my explanation to airport security screeners probably won't fly when searches result in vials of dirt and ores rich in uranium and plutonium. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I have neither been to Chernobyl, Ukraine nor Prince William Sound, Canada.
I have been to seven of the 10 places on the list, and have geological samples from each place. For some reason, every European and Taiwanese person I've ever met have managed to work this bit into conversation at some point, "Americans just don't appreciate their national parks."

Is it wrong that I have an aversion to sporting mosquito-bitten welts? ... harbouring Lyme disease-carrying ticks? ... going without bathing for days? ... hearing unseen wild animal noises? ... eating cardboard camp food? ... and other "fun" experience attainable only through camping in the wild? I'm still trying to work out a solution, but antibacterial, waterless cleaner in a bottle just doesn't cut it.

No need to offer sending packs of rock and soil, I have to figure out what to do with my current pet rocks; they come from Amsterdam, Berlin, Bali, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Taipei, Guam, London, Paris, Barcelona, Uppsala, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and countless other places. I just can't abandon them after caring for them through the years.

tags: ....
another point of view ...

Blogger mquest

As the father of a almost 3 year old boy I can tell you that picking up rocks is a natural part of childhood. (some of us never grow out of it) I have been to 5 of the places on the list.

Blogger Jaded Maniac

How have you been able to visit all of these places at such a young age?

Blogger Loz

I would like to go to the Grand Canyon and maybe Alaska...
I notice there is no mention of Australian earth being shifted!
I know I don't appreciate our national parks, but that's because it's all a little too close to nature for me, with all the creepie crawlies out there waiting to eat me alive...

Blogger The Elusive Loo

I take rocks from places too! My favourite is the chunk of Mount Etna I brought home with me - despite the locals thinking it's bad luck to remove lava rock.

Blogger Dutched Pinay on Expatriation

Wow Nam. You've got to showcase them! Why don't you make a huge canvass-mosaic painting and glue each of your "rock" country souvenir into it... or perhaps make a laminated table with the earth (soil) laminated in it with a caption saying: berlin, amsterdam, LA, paris, dallas, guam etc?

Free day today? =)

Blogger Nam LaMore

mquest: well, it might be a natural part of childhood, but be careful that your son doesn't end up lugging suitcase of rocks around. once, i went for a business trip to colorado springs, and decided to take a hike at 'garden of the gods' (ever been? i'll have to scan in some pics), i ended up with a backpack full of rocks. the airport security guy (this is pre-sept 11) just said to me, "typical, all tourists haul away our rocks!"

jadedmaniac: young age? hardly, i was ancient when the first snow fell! (hmmm, sounds the start of my next poem, i need to remember this line)

well, i'll go into more details in future posts, but we moved around a lot when i was a child (dad was in the military, based in the pacific rim) and the wanderlust hasn't left my blood (i studied abroad, did lots of international business travel, etc).

Blogger Nam LaMore

loz: i have never been to alaska, but that is one of my destination before my next+3 birthday. i had the opportunity to go to alaska (juno) years ago, but didn't take it because i decided to run off to cabo san lucas; both were work-related. i should have gone to alaska, i didn't have the foresight that alaska can only be visited at certain months of the year.

i've never step foot on the continents of mother-africa, time-stalled australia or frozen-antartica. with my current plans, two continents are within reach, say, in about four months. i'll be able to reveal more once the legal clearance is done.

i don't appreciate our national parks enough, either. well, i like going on day trips to take pictures and such, but not into overnight camping. if the trip started at, say, 1am on a friday and i didn't get home until until 4am on a sunday .. then it wouldn't be considered over-night camping since i would be up all night watching the stars, and took a nap to escape the mid-day heat.

louise nilon: you have a mount etna rock? so civil disobedience! well, i find my rocks have plenty of uses around the house: door-stops, book-ends, object d'art, paper-weights, canvas (i paint silly faces on some of them), zen-garden rocks, etc.

so, can you attribute any bad luck to that rock?

Blogger Nam LaMore

the dutched pinay: i would need to use builder's cement to bind the rocks to a canvas; some of them are pretty good size. i just have them scattered around the house; mostly clustered in small piles so i don't accidentally toss them out while cleaning.

only about ten years ago did i start to label them, when the pen says "permanent ink" it really means it! the soil samples are in small vials, like the ones you would find in an alchemist's laboratory; they just collect dusts.

today is not a free day, sorta busy with meetings in the afternoon -- i'm just not motivated to prepare for the meetings! i might just show up to the meetings and be a zombie; that's when i take on a passive role and take notes. taking notes always seem to put others around me on alert - i think it's the fact that i take pages of notes, and do lots of line-drawings - they must think i'm actually paying attention.

Blogger diadima

i have been to two of the places on the list. the rockies and niagra falls, and that is because they extend into canada.(p.s, our rockies are bigger) see, sharing is fun!

Blogger TrueJerseyGirl

I have coral from a beach in Hawaii where the myth says if you take it you get 7 years of bad luck. I got it on my honeymoon...and today is my 7 year anniversary so I guess I am off the hook!

I've been to 6 places on the list.

Blogger Nam LaMore

diadima: that always confused me that the falls is part of the US and canada. i remember the first time i heard about the falls: in one of the superman live-action movies.

indeed, sharing is fun!

truejerseygirl: oh, i think i'm on permanent probation for bad luck. with my luck, the rangers will show up once they find this entry and will haul away my rock collection.

Blogger Love Hurts

You should open yourself a little museum, just think you could charge for the entrance fee & go to all those other places in no time! I haven't been to any of those places, you are very lucky.

Blogger Nam LaMore

love hurts: hmm, that sounds like how the museum of spat bubblegums of celebrities was started :-)

i'm not sure if i'm lucky in my travel .. part of it was just being a kid and shipped around as dad was in the military. of course, it would have been funny if i refused to go with them ...

Blogger HowBizarre

OMG! I collect rocks, too!
I think that it's so cool. Especially when I saw the movie 'With Honours'. Joe Pecsi collected rocks also. I don't have any from Prince William Sound, but I do have some from Sudbury...

Blogger Nam LaMore

howbizarre: it seems that far more people collect rocks than drink coffee!!!

this comment is repeated from above: once, i went for a business trip to colorado springs, and decided to take a hike at 'garden of the gods' (ever been? i'll have to scan in some pics), i ended up with a backpack full of rocks. the airport security guy (this is pre-sept 11) just said to me, "typical, all tourists haul away our rocks!"

Anonymous Anonymous

wow, I have been to only six on that list.
What did you bring home from Hawaii? Didn't you worry that Pele would get you?

Blogger Nam LaMore

peri: i climbed to the top of diamond head and got a couple of rocks, also some beach sand near the hotel where i was staying.

to be honest, i was more afraid of the fines of the hawaii dept of land and natural resource rangers than the wrath of the firey goddess!

speak up!

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