Among the Forces eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 129 pages of information about Among the Forces.

[Illustration:  A Triple Natural Arch, Santa Cruz, Cal.]

No. 7 shows what has been a quadruple arch, only one part of which is still standing.  Out in the sea, lonely and by itself, appears a pier, scarcely emergent from the waves, which once supported an arch parallel to the one now standing and also one at right angles to the shore.  The one now standing makes the fourth.  But the ever-working sea carves and carries away arch and shore alike.  At some points a careful and even admiring observer sees little change for years, but the remorseless tooth gnaws on unceasingly.

[Illustration:  Remains of a Quadruple Natural Arch, Santa Cruz, Cal.]

On the right near the point is seen a board sign.  It says here, as in many other places, “Danger.”  Sometimes two converging waves meet at the land, rise unexpectedly, sweep over the point irresistibly, and carry away anyone who stands there.  One large and two small shreds of skin now gone from the palm of my left hand give proof of an experience there that did not result quite so disastrously.

The illustration facing page 188 is another example of an arch cut through the rocky barrier of the shore.  But in this case the trend of the less hard rock was at such an angle to the shore that the sea broke into the channel once more, and then the combined waves from the two entrances forced the passage one hundred and forty paces inland.  It terminates in another natural bridge and deep excavation beyond, which are not shown in the picture.

[Illustration:  Arch Remains Side Wall Broken, Santa Clara, Cal.]

What becomes of this comminuted rock, cleft by wedges of water, scoured over by hundreds of tons of sharp sand?  It is carried out by gentle undercurrents into the bay and ocean, and laid down where winds never blow nor waves ever beat, as gently as dust falls through the summer air.  It incloses fossils of the plant and animal life of to-day.  There rest in nature’s own sepulcher the skeletons of sharks and whales of to-day and possibly of man.  Sometime, if the depths become heights, as they have in a thousand places in the past, a fit intelligence may read therein much of the present history of the world.  We say to that coming age, as a past age has said to us, “Speak to the earth and it shall teach thee, and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.”

THE POWER OF VEGETABLE LIFE

I have a great variety of little masses of matter—­some small as a pin’s blunt point, and none of them bigger than a pin’s head.  They are smooth, glossy, hard, exceedingly beautiful under the microscope, and clearly distinguishable one from another.  They have such intense individuality, are so self-assertive, that by no process can those of one kind be made to look or act like those of another.  These little masses of matter are centers of incredible power.  They are seeds.

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Among the Forces from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.