Monday, 21 July 2014


In the woods this morning as a spider dangled from my hair and refused to go away and the horse flies were biting, the hound and I ambled along in the woods. The hound usually walks on ahead nose to the ground and every few feet will turn around to see the source of his food (me), just to reassure himself. I walk in my cathedral of nature either with my head turned upwards to gaze at the sky through the trees or downwards looking for mushrooms today as it is quite warm and they are out.

For the second time in my life I found a fossil and in the strangest of places: high up on a hill deep in the woods. There it was just as I turned my gaze from the heavens to my feet. I gasped in delight and the hound rushed over despite knowing his mama can be very dramatic about nothing in particular.  (I was so transfixed I ignored the spider abseiling down my face.) I held the fossil in my hand and marveled at such an ancient thing as it quite simply took my breath away. Perfectly preserved in every detail you would see in a living oyster. I could even make out where the oyster itself had been preserved, as if soon after death, the minerals of the seas had simply enrobed it and so began the process of preservation in layers of silt, which over millennia had turned to stone. The youngest fossils are 10,000 years old, the oldest, billions. Not one of us was around when this perfect thing was being made.

The mystery wrapped in the riddle hidden in the enigma that is life. Temporary, ephemeral and yet so much of it is spent in anxious abeyance. Grasping at things that don't matter, spending time in anticipation with people who don't count for anything and are incapable of helping us become better human beings. From the heavens we must appear as ants, scurrying frenetically to nowhere in particular and not recognising the true purpose of living.

Then a fossilised oyster comes along, driven out of its hiding place by thunder and lighting two days in a row.

A long dead oyster. You, me and infinity.

Photo copyright SvD.

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