Science

With Over a Billion Years of History Underfoot He Popped the Question

March 13, 2017
Me and LOML

In almost every post I have spoken of a certain someone who I have affectionately referred to as my spouse, my husband, my hubs, and even Kip from Napolean Dynamite.  In real life I refer to him as LOML and will call him this regularly.

LOML stands for “Love of My Life.”

As cheesy as that sounds, he really is.

me and LOML - Mountains

Do not be fooled though.  There are days that I would like to rip his arms off of his body and beat him with them.  Sometimes it is because I am hungry. Sometimes it is because he deserves it.  He still is my one and only.

Perfection does not lie within either of us, but he is as perfect for me as it gets.

We are alike enough and just different enough to complement one another.  He is pretty steady eddy while I am more emotionally involved in day-to-day living.  He can remember miscellaneous facts (just not where his keys are) and I can remember close to none.  He likes technology and I avoid most of what isn’t necessary, but do not take my smart phone away from me. He can’t spell. I can. He can’t draw a stick figure.  I paint and even hang some of my paintings on our walls.

Hey. It’s cheap.

I also have a belief in putting real art on your walls verses what you can find at Homegoods, etc.  Not that Homegoods art is bad because that art is lovely and you can change it out regularly without a terrible expense (unlike some original art).

I believe in real art on walls because I like to look at something and know that a hand and mind directly created it.  It’s eye-opening.  You can almost see into someone else through their art.  Plus, when you purchase original art, you are literally helping feed that person and also allowing them to pour out more creativity into another piece of art.

A man came by the other day to assess our tiny house and see if we can donate it to the organization for whom he works.

The organization is a great organization called Purple Heart Homes.  They, “provide housing solutions for service connected disabled veterans.”  You can learn more about them here:  Purple Heart Homes.   If you have spare change and seek giving opportunities, please check them out.

We are hopeful our house will qualify to help a local Viet Nam veteran whose house is in complete disrepair.

As he walked around to evaluate the house, he told me he was very involved in the arts and when he moved to the area he immediately became involved with the Arts and Science Council.  He shared he had some prominent pieces in his own collection.

As we walked through, he was snapping pictures of the place to take back for others at the organization to review.  In any case, he looked at the paintings on the walls and asked who in our household paints.  I confessed it was me, even though I was a little embarrassed (clearly he knew the painter was an amateur). I had to explain that they weren’t my best works.  I’m not trained.  I bantered on, “I did those a long time ago.”

mamabrain art - Mountains

Yes.  Over ten years ago.  But why do we do that?!  Why do we diminish our value like that?  And why do I now have to tell you after showing you that – that I also painted these.

mamabrain art2 - Mountains

mamabrain art3 - Mountains

See.  I am no Chagall, Monet, or Michaelangelo, but they are better than the first.

Anyway, back to my LOML.

LOML and I met while waiting tables at the Texas Steakhouse and Saloon in Christiansburg, VA.  Both of us had come out of challenging relationships and fell into a friendship with one another.  I like to think that he was so enchanted by me that he saw forever the moment he met me.

I like to think that.

He told me he was allergic to onions.  I grew up sipping sweet tea through the green straws of onions in springtime. I met his mom.  I expressed how she must have had a hard time cooking for him due to the onion allergy.  She told me he wasn’t allergic to onions.

Clearly, he did not see forever the moment he met me.

Either that, or he didn’t think I would be smart enough to figure out he is not allergic to onions one of those days in forever together.

Humph!

It took him six years to pop the question.  I don’t think I helped expedite a diamond purchase when I took him on a little hike one afternoon.

When we were dating LOML came down with a man-cold. He lounged on my parents’ sofa in the early afternoon.  I’m sure if a physician was present he or she would have intervened with life-saving techniques.

(Eye roll)

I told him I thought he needed some good ol’ fresh air and that we needed to go on a little walk.

I took him to The Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is also known as Sharp Top Mountain. He made it to the top.  Barely.  Alltrails.com describes it this way:  “Sharp Top Trail is a 2.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Bedford, Virginia that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking.”

Difficult.

Peaks of Otter - Mountains

I have a picture (unfortunately in storage) of my happy, spry and glowing self perched on a rock beside him. It’s crooked because the camera was propped on a rock.

LOML looks like he might be dying.

We made it back down and by the time I had adjusted the driver’s seat of his car to my height he was passed out in the passenger seat.

I felt really badly.

He told me he would never go back there unless it was a life altering moment.

Five or so years later he knelt down on one knee in front of me at the tip top of Sharp Top Mountain. He jokes I had no way down but through him (behind me was a 100 foot drop).

Do you know anyone who has fallen ten stories and lived to tell about it?

Yeah. Me either.  😉

Here’s our engagement picture. We were such babies!

engagement picture - Mountains

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of my favorite places. The Peaks of Otter is located at milepost 86. The Parkway boasts the Blue Ridge Mountains.  How could you not love something that looks like this:

Blue Ridge Parkway - Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains are part of one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world – the Appalachian Mountains Some scientists say they are the oldest, while others confirm that The Barberton Greenstone Belt in Africa may be older.  Either way, the Blue Ridge Mountains are probably over one billion years old.

Sharp Top mountain likely rivaled the Rockies and the Himalayas in its heyday.  Now it’s a victim of erosion like its surrounding Blue Ridge brothers and sisters.

The Himalayan Mountains, which boast the tallest mountain in the world (Mt. Everest), are just bitty babies who have barely been weaned off of breast milk.  They are about 55 million years old.

My oldest sister lives in Appalachia.  She regularly finds fossils of sea creatures there.  This doesn’t make sense unless you are familiar with the formation of the mountains and how the Earth morphed over millions and billions of years.

Mountains can be formed in several ways, but they fall into two main categories of formation:  volcanism or by tectonic forces.

Volcanism is when magma rises to the surface.  This happens when one tectonic plate pushes under another or when a plate passes over a hot spot.  The Hawaiian Islands are a great example of land forming from via volcanism.  Here is LOML and me perched on cool lava on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Big Island Lava flow - Mountains

Tectonic forces involve movement of tectonic plates.  Subduction, collisions and faults are three examples.

Subduction occurs when an oceanic plate bends and slides under a continental plate.  These areas are called subduction zones.  Subduction zones circle the Pacific Ocean making the Ring of Fire.  This is where most of the Earth’s volcanoes are.

Collisions occur between two plates and can cause their edges to break and fold.  This process can create mountains.  The Himalayas were formed this way, as well as the Appalachians (eventually), when India slammed into Asia.

Faults can also create mountains.  As two plates grind past each other rifts can form.  Rocks on one side of the fault rise in relation to the other forming what is called block mountains.

As far as the Appalachian Mountains are concerned, their story is long and sorted as the Earth’s crust moved and changed over millions of years.

The rocks at the core of the Appalachian Mountains formed more than a billion years ago when all of the continents were joined together in a single supercontinent surrounded by a single ocean. Fragments of the supercontinent can be seen on the surface in many places in the Appalachian Mountains.  Examples include Blowing Rock, NC and Red Top Mountain in Georgia.

Then, about 750 million years ago, the supercontinent began to thin and pull apart.  The continental crust split into pieces and moved away from each other. Seawater spread into low areas between crustal plates and formed new oceans.  In what is now known as western NC and eastern TN, the Ocoee basin formed.

While sediments were being deposited in the basin, volcanoes were erupting in areas that are now Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. Lava exploded violently and also flowed slowly like that from the Hawaiian volcanoes.  Rocks from this activity are still visible in some rocks at White Top Mountain in southern Virginia.

So, how then did rocks that formed on sea floors and islands become the mountains and valleys of today?

After the ocean continued to expand, the motion of the crustal plates changed and the continents began to move toward each other.  Fragments of oceanic crust, islands, and other continental masses collided with the eastern margin of ancestral North America. Huge masses of rocks were pushed westward and formed the mountains that we now know as the Appalachians.

Due to being subjected to erosion for millions of years they appear to be baby mountains when compared to the Rockies, but they have earned millions more candles on their birthday cake.

The geology of our Mother Earth is intriguing.  So many secrets and precious gems lie beneath and within the Earth’s crust.  It is incredible the amazing journey our planet has taken so far.  It is hard to tell how it will evolve and what it will be millions of years from now.

As always, journey on!

xo, the mamabrain at mamabrains

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