THROUGH MY LENS: Reading ancient history

When I was young I loved finding fossils. Small stones had been used to mulch around the front shrubs of the house where I grew up, and I would spend hours, armed with a bowl or glass jar, turning over the rocks, collecting one fossilized creature after another. I felt like an archaeologist (Indiana Jones, maybe?) discovering the past right in my front yard.

Now I have my own bed of stones to sort through. Last year I put in a path of smooth, round river stones over a stretch of muddy yard. I decided rocks would be a better surface to traverse than stepping through mud all the time and tearing up the ground. This spring I finished adding pavers to the path, to make it more walkable.

I had about fifteen to lay down in their rocky bed on a rather chilly, windy day. As I clawed back layer after layer of the small stones, I remembered my childhood fascination. Every now and then a wormy, skeletal impression in one of the rocks caught my eye. As if the beautiful colors and striations of the stones weren’t enough, the opportunity to catch a glimpse of ancient life they offered made my work a lot more fascinating and enjoyable.

Now I go out sometimes, bowl in hand, and turn over the stones. I’m happy to find there are still fossils to discover, the uncharted territory of my own front yard once again.