Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Elements: Earth

Foundation. Stone. Rock. The unmoving ground. While the element earth contains a great deal of different connotations for many cultures—and some even eschew it from their lists of elements for other compounds—it is still the source of many of our raw materials. Earth: the container of all life.

We build our dwellings from it. We build them upon it. It comes in many forms, from the solidity of rock, to the trembling uncertainty of peat bogs. It gives rise to trees that stretch above it, roots that dig beneath, and provides the matrix for which all things mount themselves against the sky.

In the creation stories of many mythologies the earth is the first place—and from it all life is formed. From the earth all living things rise, and to it they decompose when they are done. The ultimate and final configuration of star-stuff that gives a place to stay, provides food, shelter, and all the comforts of life.

In Scifi stories, earth is the element of planetary bodies. The primary difference between spacers and terrestrials. Even alien worlds have all the makeshift necessity of earthiness—in fact, we could argue easily that even Mercury has “earth” although it is an airless, lifeless world it is only earth and nothing else. Spacers find it by taking small chunks of it in the form of asteroids, or necessarily learn to live with much less of it by producing food with hydroponics. The spacer and the terrestrial will, however, possibly argue about the merits of cold steel and artificial gravity, or gravel and the planetary weight of natural gravity.

Earth. It’s even the name of our home world.

It’s the calling card of modern day environmentalists. The body of the Goddess made manifest—the life-giver.

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