Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/72

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64
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

as well the ever-important element of beauty, without which bigness is vulgarity. Nature is never vulgar. Whether we look upon the roadside violet that wilts under the touch, or whether we stand wondering at Niagara, or strain to see the tiptop rock of the Grand Cañon, we may always discern a radiant beauty, which pervades the

PSM V54 D072 Completed natural arch.png
Fig. 2.—Completed Arch.

world to its foundations, and is poured out upon us unmeasured and unpriced.

So these architectural forms that result from the perennial battle between the dry land and the sea, no matter what their size, are charming in majesty, in proportion, in harmony of color, and in variety and grace of outline. Our imaginations are constantly in search of resemblances, and it is not strange, therefore, that every land presents to human curiosity numerous specimens, though it must be admitted that the mind is sometimes taxed to discover the likeness. On the other hand, some are so evident as to have acquired a world-wide celebrity. The Natural Bridge of Virginia (Fig. 1) is not only a resemblance, it is a reality. In the Rocky Mountain region are numerous other bridges formed thus naturally. In the Canon of Desolation, Green River, Utah, far above the water are many natural arches in the thinner salients of the monster cliffs. These perforations are often two thousand feet above the river, looking like enormous windows opening on some other world. In one a pine tree that must have been at least a hundred feet high was growing, and its top was many feet below the crown of the arch. Wherever this particular formation is exposed, these arches or bridges occur in all stages of development. The sandstone of this formation has the peculiarity of fracturing conchoidally, and when the face of a cliff