In Suspect Terrain

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He would spend three years in traction, earning nothing. Gradually, Anita’s expeditions on foot into Manhattan increased in length until she was covering, round trip, as much as twelve miles. Her line of maximum advance was somewhere in Central Park. “That’s as far as I ever got. I was too scared.” Going up the Bowery and through the East Village, she had no more sense of the geology than did the men who were lying in the doorways. When she looked up at the Empire State Building, she was unaware that it owed its elevation to the formation that outcropped in Central Park; and when she saw the outcrops there, she did not wonder why, in the┬ámoist atmosphere of the American East, those flexplek huren dordrecht great bare shelves of sparkling rock were not covered with soil and vegetation. In Wyoming, wind might have stripped them bare, but Wyoming is miles high and drier than the oceans of the moon. Here in the East, a river could wash rock clean, but this rock was on the high ground of an island, far above flood and tide. She never thought to wonder why the rock was scratched and grooved, and elsewhere polished like the foyer of a bank She didn’t know from geology. In Brooklyn College, from age fifteen onward, she read physics, mineralogy, structural geology, igneous and metamorphic petrology. She took extra courses to the extent permitted. To attend the college she had to pay six dollars a semester, and she meant to get everything out of the investment she could. There were also lab fees and breakage fees. Breakage fees, in geology, were not a great problem. Among undergraduate colleges in the United States, this one was relatively small, about the size of Harvard, which it resembled, with its brick-and-white-trim flexplek huren amsterdam sedate Colonial buildings, its symmetrical courtyards and enclosed lawns; and like Harvard it stood on outwash. Brooklyn College is in south Flatbush, seaward of the terminal moraine. When Anita was there, in the middle nineteen-fifties, there were so many leftists present that the college was known as the Little Red Schoolhouse. She did not know from politics, either. She was in a world of roof pendants and discordant batholiths, elastic collisions and neutron scatteration, and she branched out into mineral deposits, field mapping, geophysics, and historical geology, adding such things to the skills she had established earlier in accounting, bookkeeping, typing, and shorthand. It had been assumed in her family that she would be a secretary, like her mother.

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