The formation was called Martinsburg. It had been folded and cleaved in orogenic tumult following its deposition in the sea. As a result, it resembled stacks of black folios, each of a thousand leaves. Just to tap at such rock and remove a piece of it is to create something so beautiful in its curving shape and tiered laminations that it would surely be attractive to a bonsai gardener’s eye. It seems a proper setting for a six-inch tree. I put a few pieces in the car, as I am wont to do when I see some Martinsburg. Across the Delaware, in Pennsylvania, the formation presents itself in large sections that are without joints and veins, the minerals line up finely in dense flat sheets, and the foliation planes are so extensive and straight that slabs of great size can be sawed from the earth. The rock there is described as “blue-gray true unfading slate.” It is strong but “soft,” and will accept a polishing that makes it smoother than glass. From Memphis to St. Joe, from Joplin to River City, there is flexplek huren almere scarcely a hustler in the history of pool who has not racked up his runs over Martinsburg slate. For anybody alive who still hears corruption in the click of pocket billiards, it is worth a moment of reflection that not only did all those pool tables accumulate on the ocean floor as Ordovician guck but so did the blackboards in the schools of all America. The accumulation of the Martinsburg-the collapsing platform, the inpouring sediments-was the first great sign of a gathering storm. Geological revolution, crustal deformation, tectonic upheaval
would follow. Waves of mountains would rise. Martinsburg time in earth history is analogous to the moment in flexplek huren amsterdam human history when Henry Hudson, of the Dutch East India Company, sailed into the bay of the Lenape River. Completing the crossing of the Great Valley of the Appalachians, Anita and I passed more limestones, more slate. Their original bedding planes, where we could discern them, were variously atilt, vertical, and overturned, so intricate had the formations become in the thrusting and folding of the long-gone primal massifs. The road came to the river, turned north to run beside it, and presented a full view of the break in the Kittatinny ridge, still far enough away to be comprehended in context but close enough to be seen as the phenomenon it is: a mountain severed, its folds and strata and cliffs symmetrical, thirteen hundred feet of rock in close fraternal image from the skyline to the boulders of a blue-and-white river. Small wonder that painters of the Hudson River School had come to the Delaware to do their best work. George Inness painted the Delaware Water Gap many times, and he chose this perspective-downriver about four miles-more than any other.