Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Witnessing for ... Geohovah?

I used to know someone who kept a stack of books -- KJV (which he'd read through, and studied), probably the Jerusalem Bible, books on Paganism, the Book of Mormon, Buddhist texts, all sorts of things -- in a stack on the table next to the front door. He was an obsessive reader of psychology and theology, and every time something caught his eye at a book sale, he'd bring it home, and devour it. When folks wanted to come in and talk religion, he could do that, and did, and would sit them down for an hour or more to discuss things they weren't always ready to discuss. He'd pick up his books and leaf through until he found a relevant passage, read it, and bring it into the conversation. The proselytizers never managed to convert him from basic agnosticism, but it passed the time for him, and he liked meeting new people.

If this Geohovah's Witness guy showed up at my door, I'd take him to my special geography table and show him my atlases, geography texts, books about water policy and fire control in chaparral and bird identification and food politics in developing nations and plate tectonics and biodiversity, and of course, offer him coffee and cookies and we'd chat.

I must sound like him sometimes. I can't drive down Mission Bl. through Hayward, in California, without pointing out the Hayward Fault scarp. I can't be along the marine terraces of Highway 1 without explaining how they were formed. I especially can't see serpentine soil (or serpentinite) without getting into a discussion about its formation and ecology.

Water towers in Alameda County -- the kinds that used to sit in back yards, and hold water pumped up from the ground with windmills, for the households -- fascinate me endlessly. Can I control my urge to tell people about them, if they don't already know? No, not really.

I am a geography evangelist. I think I must annoy my friends sometimes. They say they don't mind, but I wonder.

(This sounds like I don't get the point of the video. I do, it just got me musing.)

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