Entropy’s Little Helpers

I put the punch line in the title, but it’s a phrase I really like and want to remember.

I was in the car with my family heading down to White Rock via the truck route (Pajarito Road is closed to keep us all safe) and I noticed at the tops of the cliffs on both sides of the road many, many precariously balanced rocks. I was filled with my boyhood urge to watch those rocks crash with great energy and dust into the canyon below. Just look at them. They’re about to let go. It’s only a matter of time.

There used to be rocks like that hovering over the cliffs behind my house and the houses of all my friends. No longer. By the time I was ten, tipping big rocks off the edge was a hobby. Some required muscle, some required leverage, some even required cleverness. Eventually, with a rumble and a boom, the rock would fall. The rock would have fallen sooner or later; entropy demands it. We were entropy’s little helpers.

All I can figure is that the Anasazi weren’t such big fans of crashing rocks, or they wouldn’t have left any for us. Makes them seem… inhuman.

2 thoughts on “Entropy’s Little Helpers

  1. I think the Anasazi spent too much time on not-starving-to-death to push all the rocks over the cliffs.

    Not only was this great fun for us, but it was always a big hit with the out of towners. One fellow Rice alum who was making his way westward basically didn’t want to do anything else during the time he was in LA. I guess for all the bright lights and big city attractions in Chicago (his home town), he had never seen anything like the sight of exploding pumice boulders.

    In my view, it was the quality of the rocks that made it so great. Of course, the cliffs were necessary, but the volcanic nature of the rocks (light enough to be launched, fragile enough to vaporize on contact) was what made the magic.

    I’m sure that somewhere back east “entropy’s little helpers” are rolling grantie boulders down grassy hills, but that is just one more thing they don’t know they are missing compared to the (and I honestly believe this) Land of Enchantment.

  2. Ahh-HA! The latest generation of entropy’s little helpers don’t have any rocks to roll off cliffs any more because Jerry, Bob, et al., have already rolled them all off. And the rocks at Five O’Clock Somewhere aren’t anywhere near cliffs, and they’re sandstone, so they’re not as easy to shift as the tuff in LA.

    That leaves entropy’s little helpers with nothing but — AAIIIEEEEEEE! SpongeBob!

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