One great purpose of this world is its use as significant symbol and hint of the world to come. The communication of ideas and feelings there is not by slow, clumsy speech, often misunderstood, originally made to express low physical wants, but it is by charade, panorama, parable, and music rolling like the voice of many waters in a storm. The greatest things and relations of earth are as hintful of greater things as a bit of float ore in the plains is suggestive of boundless mines in the upper hills. So the joy of finding one lost lamb in the wilderness tells of the joy of finding and saving a human soul. One should never go to any of God’s great wonders to see sights, but to live life; to read in them the figures, symbols, and types of the more wonderful things in the new heavens and the new earth.
The old Hebrew prophets and poets saw God everywhere in nature. The floods clap their hands and the hills are joyful together before the Lord. Miss Proctor, in the Yosemite, caught the same lofty spirit, and sang:
“Perpetual masses here intone,
Uncounted censers swing,
A psalm on every breeze is blown;
The echoing peaks from throne to throne
Greet the indwelling King;
The Lord, the Lord is everywhere,
And seraph-tongued are earth and air.”
THE YELLOWSTONE PARK GEYSERS
THEIR ESSENTIAL FACTS AND CAUSES
I have been to school. Dame Nature is a most kind and skillful teacher. She first put me into the ABC class, and advanced me through conic sections. The first thing in the geyser line she showed me was a mound of rock, large as a small cock of hay, with a projection on top large as a shallow pint bowl turned upside down. In the center of this was a half-inch hole, and from it every two seconds, with a musical chuckle of steam, a handful of diamond drops of water was ejected to a height of from two to five feet. I sat down with it half an hour, compelled to continuous laughter by its own musical cachinnations. There were all the essentials of a geyser. There was a mound, not always existent, built up by deposits from the water supersaturated with mineral. It might be three feet high; it might be thirty. There was the jet of water ejected by subterranean forces. It might be half an inch in diameter; it might be three hundred feet, as in the case of the Excelsior geyser. It might rise six inches; it might rise two hundred and fifty feet. There was the interval between the jets. It might be two seconds; it might be weeks or years.
[Illustration: Formation of the Grotto Geyser.]
A subsequent lesson in my Progressive Geyser Reader was the “Economic.” Here was a round basin ten feet in diameter, very shallow, with a hole in the middle about one foot across. The water was perfectly calm. But every six minutes a sudden spurt of water and steam would rise about thirty feet, for thirty seconds, and then settle economically, without waste of water, into the pool, sinking with pulsations as on an elastic cushion a foot below the bottom of the pool. One could stride the opening like a colossus for five and one half minutes without fear. He might be using the calm depth for a mirror. But stay a moment too long and he is scalded to death by the sudden outburst.