Saturday, December 25, 2010

A mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) stops by to investigate near the  Florissant fossil beds. Photo by S. Veatch.

Christmas is back again in the mountains, bringing peace and stillness to the Ponderosa forest. The morning sun chased away the mist, leaving the pine needles covered in a jewel-like coating of frost. The deer are grazing in the meadow while a gentle breeze stirs the winter oatgrass.  I send  everyone warm holiday greetings from Florissant. I can't think of a better place to send the greetings from . . . I am next to one of the richest fossil beds on the planet, and I am just a few miles from the World's Greatest Gold Camp. I also get to see great veiws, trees, and wildlife everyday.

I spend much of my time working with geological materials, rocks that are over a billion years old, and fossils from the Florissant beds that are 34 million years old. By working with these specimens, I truly understand how short our time on Earth is. Mark Twain once commented that if the height of the Eiffel Tower represented geologic time, then the thin layer of paint on the ball at the very top of the tower was equivalent to all human history. I am reminded that we should make the most of our extremely short time on this planet and be as good as we can to one another. I wish everyone a great New Year of adventure, fossil hunting, and lots of fun.