It started with rocks. I really like them. It’s hard for me not to collect them, hold them in my warm pond, make wishes and set them in corners of the house. Stone is grounding and ancient and strong. And all this spring I have been heaving stones out of the forest and fields to make stone walls around the farm. They aren’t big walls, more like borders and garden terraces, but there is so much rock on this mountain (That’s what a mountain is) and every single day I have been holding and moving and working with rocks in some capacity.
So, take this time I have spent handling slate and mud rock and fieldstone and shale, and mix it with my favorite corner of Youtube (archeology/paleontology/ancient history) and a woman with a desire to learn and no money to spend…. And you got yourself a woman looking for fossils.
I have been spending free time in the afternoons taking a closer look at those rocks. I have some books from the library. I have been learning about how this state used to be covered entirely by water, and these mountains were gigantic and there was no cold antler farm. There was just coral and trilobites and big ol’ armored fish and crustaceans and ammonites and brachiopods and all sorts of other magical, paleo beasts and plants here in my backyard. I want to learn so much more.
I will say this. When I am ankle-deep in the Battenkill, looking for any sign of fossils, I am not thinking about my phone. I am not thinking of the people that live in it, or money, or worried about the future. I am not worried about gaining weight. I am not scared of strangers or nervous or anxious. I am just looking at rocks. And while right now it’s the equivalent of a dog watching flashing lights on the TV screen, captivated but ignorant, I am enthusiastic.
So far I found some dendrite formations and one piece of 300+ million year old coral, right here on the farm. I own this land, at least today, and it’s something I can do while out walking the dogs in the woods or splashing around the stream. When I have more gas money and some bills covered, I want to drive an hour or so away to some local shores and quarries and try to find some real fantastic things.
Mostly, it’s exiting to be excited about something. I don’t spend a lot of time on this, but I did spend an hour watching documentaries on the Devonian period, glacier movement, some geology 101 stuff. Things I can learn and apply to my own state, my own county, hell my own land. It’s not exactly Jurassic Park, but it is Devonian Dayhiking and that’s pretty exciting for this gal.
If you know of any northeastern, preferably around here, areas where a gal can pray for a meet cute with her first trilobite, holler at me. I am not getting any younger.