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Picking Through Gray Days – And Finding Treasure

Working on a gray shale field jacket from Kansas. Sara J. Bruegel, 2014

This poem uses a personal reflection of delicate work on fossils to illustrate points about work, success, and life in general.  It’s written from the author’s experience working on fossil field jackets – essentially big chunks of rock brought back from a dig site (read more field jackets here).  Specifically, it’s about two field jackets of shale from western Kansas – you can read all about the Kansas digs here.  Enjoy!


Working on Kansas gray shale field jacket. Sara J. Bruegel, 2014
Working on Kansas gray shale field jacket. Sara J. Bruegel, 2014

Chip, chip, chip one tiny bit at a time

The gray, dusty work inside

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On frail, layered rock sublime

Is like the dry, cloudy day just outside.

~~~~~~~

Flakes fly when the chisel hits on the rock,

Look for fossils just below

Be so careful not to knock

Out of place a treasure that’s yet unknown.

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~~~~~~~

Some work done with power tool buzz and grind,

Some with frigid hands all numb

Dry from winter air unkind

Yet the goal of noble work overcomes

~~~~~~~

The work is insipid yet very grand

Small, elusive fish scales shine

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Pale chalk powders root strands*

But found no great fossil as rock’s refined

~~~~~~~

The piece of what we think is a Mosasaur skull fossil that the author was excavating. Photo copyright Sara Jill Bruegel, 2014
The piece of what we think is a Mosasaur skull fossil that the author was excavating. Photo copyright Sara Jill Bruegel, 2014

The end and beginning both were well known

And mystery lay between

But now empty rock is shown

With no more big fossils but those foreseen

~~~~~~~

Was the slow, cold labor all done in vain?

Were great fossils the sole aim?

Nay! The journey is all gain

It was a rare lesson to all who came

~~~~~~~

When our work is finished at end of day

Not task success or talent,

But those faithful who obey

That the greatest Master sees most gallant

~~~~~~~

Copyright Sara J. Bruegel, October 2015

*strands of plant roots, coated in a powdery chalk are often found between the layers of Kansas shale

Written by Sara J. Mikkelson

Sara J. Mikkelson (Bruegel) is a young woman dedicated to bringing glory to God in all that she does. Her focus is creation science children’s ministry, reaching kids with truth and hope that comes from the Word of God. Sara has an associate of science degree in geology, graduating Phi Theta Kappa with honors. She is administrator of the Creation Club. Sara and her husband David both work at David Rives Ministires creationclues.com

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