Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rock concert

This afternoon I will be meeting personnel from a film production company to make a short film on the geology of Easton, sponsored by our town library. No better place to illustrate local geology than here on the college campus.

First, there is a story of deep time, unfolding over hundreds of millions of years, told in four kinds of bedrock. It's a story of drifting and colliding continents, high mountains thrust up and eroded away, volcanoes, earthquakes, swampy depositions, continents splitting and a ocean being born.

Then there's a story of shallow time -- a thousand times shallower -- just tens or hundreds of thousands of years, a story of cooling climate, of continental glaciers grinding across the land, breaking, shaping, smoothing, transporting.

Together the two stories account for the landscape we know and love today.

It's all here to see if one knows where to look and what to look for, and so we will be visiting some of the hidden woodsy corners of the campus.

But right now I'm sitting in my usual quiet corner of the Commons trying to decide how I will tell the stories. Sequentially, as the events actually happened. Or together, deep and shallow stories at once.

The thing is, most of the sites I will visit tell parts of both stories: how the rock had its origin, and what gave it the appearance we see today -- the polish, the scratches, the tumbled boulders. Unless we are going to do a lot of to-and-froing with the camera, I think I will have to weave the stories together from the very beginning.

Of course, things can be rearranged in the editing, but I won't be there for that. I better do it all in one go.

This is not the first short film I have done in the neighborhood. The inimitable Chuck Kraemer made a lovely little flick some years ago when The Path was published, for Emily Rooney's Greater Boston TV show (Andy's daughter). And a year later the Hallmark Channel also went for a walk. You can see these films by Googling videos for "Chet Raymo." Amazing that this stuff is still available on the internet. Certainly, I didn't put it there.