Kaysie Dannemiller
Former perlite mine, Tinemaha Pit, Fish Springs District, Owens Valley, California

Story Info

Dannemiller 2019

Story & Experience

Experience: this dispatch is being made via cell phone so will be short and sweet. I walked up to the mine in the heat of the afternoon from my campground. It would have been easier to drive but it felt important to take my time. I could see the mine in the distance for the entire walk. There was a wound in the earth, no doubt done by humans without any regard for mother earth. Clearly there was a need—economic or otherwise. However, we also have an obligation to heal the wounds we have inflicted.

(The following content is from Wikipedia: Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content, typically formed by the hydration of obsidian. It occurs naturally and has the unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently. It is an industrial mineral and a commercial product useful for its low density after processing. Because of its low density and relatively low price (about US$50 per tonne of unexpanded perlite), many commercial applications for perlite have developed. In the construction and manufacturing fields, it is used in lightweight plasters, concrete and mortar, insulation, and ceiling tiles It may also be used to build composite materials that are sandwich-structured[7]or to create  syntactic form.[8]. In horticulture, perlite can be used as a soil amendment or alone as a medium for hydroponics or for starting cuttings. When used as an amendment it has high permeability / low water retention and helps prevent soil compaction.[9] Perlite is an excellent filtration aid and is used extensively as an alternative to diatomaceous earth. The popularity of perlite usage as a filter medium is growing considerably worldwide. Perlite filters are fairly commonplace in filtering beer before it is bottled.)

I don’t know when the mine was closed. But I can see that the buildings remain. I can see that the wound is still open. I picked up some branches on my way to the mine. When I arrived, I formed the branches into the RadJoy bird. I found some blue flowers near the mine and decorated the bird with them. I put some discarded lightweight rocks around the bird. There is also obsidian at the head of the bird. I hung the flag on the rope that closes access to the road. I prayed for healing. I prayed for the next seven generations that they may know the joys of wilderness and a life connected to nature.

Then I returned to my camp before the heat became unbearable. Sending joy!


Former perlite mine, Tinemaha Pit, Fish Springs District, Owens Valley, California


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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.