Archive for December, 2008

View of “Mount Ararat”

31 December 2008

mount ararat oakland

One of the geologic puzzles I worked on during 2008 was the identity of “Rockridge Rock.” One candidate is a crag along Acacia Avenue once known as Cactus Rock; another candidate is an outcrop that supposedly was dynamited away in the early 1900s. I’m reluctant to accept either as the true Rockridge Rock without better evidence. In the meantime I’m intrigued by the hillock called “Mt Ararat” on an old map of the area. It’s topped with a bedrock eminence that’s almost completely hidden by homes and trees, but if you remove those (and there’s good historical reason to do that) I think what’s left is a legitimate candidate. This summer, while exploring the ground north of Mountain View Cemetery, I got a fair shot of the hill. Click the photo for a larger view.

I’ve been too busy to carry my search further lately, but I haven’t given up.

Oakmartre

29 December 2008

oakmartre

I’ve kept this photo around for a long time, but I still can’t say exactly why. It reminds me of shots of Montmartre in Paris. It’s looking southeast toward the intersection of Park Boulevard and Chatham Road, which becomes a freeway onramp at this point. The road in the front is a nameless alley that branches off Excelsior Avenue, serving a tiny block of just nine houses.

I guess the shot exemplifies the hidden treasures of Oakland, hundreds of them, visible only to those who go about on foot with their eyes open. Not all of them are about geology. On top of the geologic palimpsest, the land bears another whole layer of human history: streets and lots laid out and partially erased leaving remnants and traces, not all of which can be deciphered. The people who witnessed the changes pass on, and details vanish. It is something like geology, whose story is likened to a newspaper with most of the pages torn out and the rest burned.


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