There once lived a wee little fellow
Quite a troublesome little fellow was he
Fidgety, fidgety, fidgety
He never could sit still
Until one day he encountered geology
Yes, you heard right, geology
And with that as silent as a mouse he would be

He learned about igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks
And how one was hard, the other layered, and the last changed with time
He discovered up throws and downthrows and all kinds of faults in between
And he saw the world transform right before his eyes
Then he learned about volcanoes, lava and dried granite cones
And the thought of it curdled his blood to a near stand still

But it wasn’t until he encountered earthquakes that his trance was broken
With fat tears plopping down his face, and tremors overtaking his being
You’d think he’d rate an 8.0 on the Richter scale

At the end of the class when everything was packed
This wee little fellow stayed behind in class
(Now remember it was he who never could sit still)
And as the teacher cleaned up the last bit of the chalkboard
He walked up to her and tugged at her shirt
“But why the earthquakes?” he asked in a quiet voice
She looked at him in bemusement; he’d never asked a question in class before

Quiet did he stay until she regained composure, then sit him down she did
“Because it’s all part of the cycle,” she said
“The cycle?” he repeated, his eyes full of wonder
She nodded with a smile on her face
See, with the igneous, sedimentary and metamorphose rocks
And the downthrows and upthrows, and sliding tectonic plates
There comes a time when the pressure within has reached its hilt
And in order for new mountains, valleys and oceans to be formed
Everything must be broken down silt by silt
Until finally, the time comes for the cycle to start again
And the wonder of it all begins a-new

That wee little fellow kept staring at his teacher
Deep in thought as he digested it all
Then all of a sudden, “okay! Thanks ms!” he shouted
And out the room he ran, with her staring at his retreating back in wonder
For although he was still too young to understand every minor detail
The violent wonder of earthquakes had for a moment quelled his storm
And in that moment he’d been drawn into an alien silence
One that gave him the courage to finally ask “why”.

© 2009 Jemila Abdulai

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