A good place

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“This would be a good place for a golf course,” Anita remarked, and scarcely had she uttered the words than-after driving two thousand yards on down the road with a dogleg to the left-we were running parallel to the fairways of a clonic Gleneagles, a duplicated Dumfries, a faxed Blairgowrie, four thousand miles from Dumfriesshire and Perthshire, but with natural bunkers and traps of glacial sand, with hummocky roughs and undulating fairways, with kettle depressions, kettle lakes, and other chaotic hazards. “If you want a golf course, go to a glacier” is the message according to Anita Harris. “Golf was invented on the moraines, the eskers, the pitted outwash plains-the glacial topography-of Scotland,” she explained. “All over the world, when people make golf courses they are copying glacial landscapes. They are trying to make countryside that looks like this. I’ve seen bulldozers copying Scottish moraines in flexplek huren zwolle places like Louisiana. It’s laughable.” On warm afternoons in summer, the meltwater rivers that pour from modem glaciers become ferocious and unfordable, like the Suiattle, in Washington, coming down from Glacier Peak, like the
Yentna, in Alaska, falling in tumult from the McKinley massif. Off the big ice sheets of the Pleistocene have come many hundreds of Suiattles and Yentnas, most of which are gone now, leaving their works behind. The rivers have built outwash plains beyond the glacial fronts, sorting and smoothing miscellaneous sizes of rock-moving cobbles farther than boulders, and gravels farther than cobbles, and sands farther than gravels, and silt grains farther than sandsthen gradually losing power, and filling up interstices with groutings of clay. Enormous chunks of ice frequently broke off the retreating glaciers and were left behind. The rivers built around them containments of gravel and clay. Like big, buried Easter eggs, the ice sat there and slowly melted. When it was gone, depressions were left in the ground, pitting the outwash plains. The flexplek huren arnhem depressions have the shapes of kettles, or at least have been so described, and “kettle” is a term in geology. All kettles contained water for a time, and some contain water still. Rivers that developed under glaciers ran in sinuous grooves. Rocks and boulders coming out of the ice fell into the rivers, building thick beds contained between walls of ice. When the glacier was gone, the riverbeds were left as winding hills. The early Irish called them eskers, meaning pathways, because they used them as means of travel above detentive bogs.

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