Fossil-hunting: Element of surprise

This is how
we hunt for fossils:
carefully sifting
through creek gravel
& loose layered stone
at the bank

tiny garter snakes
no longer than my little finger
threaten hands
that get too close
to their warming-places.

That’s all I see;
small live snakes,
dry twigs,
and leaf mold–
the living,
or
the more recently dead.

The only time
I find fossils
is when I sit next to the water
& my hand,
unthinking,
rests on a small stone
crowded with trilobites.

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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4 Responses to Fossil-hunting: Element of surprise

  1. Rhonda says:

    I love this one. A relative of mine in Oklahoma fossil hunts at every opportunity. I can picture him as I read this. He sends me photos (when he thinks to) and I can certainly see the attraction.

    • It’s fun–what I find fun in this is I never find them when or where I am looking for them–they always find me. Ironically, I live down the creek, as it were, from a rather large paleontologic site, called the Penn-Dixie site, so I always think I should find them when I am looking for them πŸ™‚

      • Rhonda says:

        My brother has all of his friends convinced he has a “special” touch; can zone in as it were. They think he’s got some sort of second sense. What’s funny is, he uses his sense of smell. He says there is a petroleum odor in a lot of the rocks he finds along the roads, from when the earth was dug up so long ago to make the roads. Very interesting subject and he has promised to take me with him next time I venture out west.

  2. That’s fascinating! You’ll have to let me know what ancient trails he scents πŸ™‚

    Now, I am going to have to stop replying to your comments, or I will spend all day chasing poetry, or fossils, and not editing–my “day job.”

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