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Waning Poetic



Folks--

I got this from a non-paleontologist friend this morning.  I submit 
it for your enjoyment.  It's pretty rich, but on the whole, it filled 
me with patriotic zeal.  As it is not in any way a "serious" post, 
please send your comments to me and not the group.  

*******************************************************

The scientists in paleontology (and that includes, you, dude - who gives 
a crap whether you're an undergrad or a curator? - you're part of this 
unbelievably cool world) - they have such wonderful minds!  They're not 
the number-crunching, pencil-pushing, desk scientists.  Most go out into 
the field and do the back-breaking work themselves, in the worst 
conditions - now *that's* dedication.  Compare that to some engineer who 
has to 'work late' moving a mouse around in some air-conditioned office. 
 But *all* paleontologists, even the ones who *don't* go out into the 
field, even those who spend weeks going blind over drawings and papers, 
they have something that goes far beyond simple drawings and arranging 
of bones.  All paleontologists have *imagination*.  I mean, imagination 
running out their pockets and all through their hair, man!  They *see* 
worlds that only exist as rocky remains, buried in the grave of Time.  
They create, for those of us willing to watch and listen, incredible new 
vistas, where behemoths that would've been hard to believe - even 
staring one down the mouth - roam in majestic freedom.  Their world is 
not our world.  Theirs is a much richer place, where the imagination 
becomes reality as the pages are turned *backwards*.  They read the last 
page of the novel, and write everything else, from prologue to climax, 
with all the exposition, plot twists, and drama of the finest works ever 
conceived or composed by man.  And the greatest part of it all is that 
their works are all 'based on a true story!'.  What they do is not just 
a skill.  It's not just a talent.  It's both of those, and a 
*philosophy*...  It's a *way of life*.  And It's a *love* - nobody gets 
into paleontology for the money, because quite simply, they're ain't 
none.  There's a love there, a desire to know, the great "Quest for 
Knowledge" that takes them all back tens and hundreds of millions of 
years, back before humans were even a twist in some prehistoric mammal's 
 DNA...  It can be an inhospitable place, because of the great hand of 
the Now that reaches back and tries to destroy what they have built with 
the cries of fools who don't want to know where we came from, or don't 
care.  It 'separates the men from the boys', so to speak.  And those of 
you who survive the onslaught of the armies of the Now - living in a 
tent, with rations of Spam and crackers, in prehistoric Utah, or braving 
the great cathedrals and labyrinths of books and bone deep in the heart 
of Museum and Library, the last bastions of temporal freedom for us, the 
dreamers - you create for us Yesterday, so that we can better understand 
Today and Tomorrow.  Would that there were more of you, or that you were 
at least better funded! :)  But I know that the Love of it all will keep 
you going, no matter the circumstances.  Because that's the type of 
people you are.  And I, for one, am terribly grateful for that.  In all 
honesty, the world is truly a better place to have such people in it.

Well, I just felt like waxing eloquently for a moment or two... I 
thought that you, and maybe some of your paleo-brethren that you can 
pass these words on to, would like to know that some of us common folk 
out here believe in what you're doing, and think it's necessary.  And I 
make this solemn promise to you and the entire paleo-community:  If ever 
I am in a position to make significant, or even insignificant, 
contributions to your world, through money, art, hefting a pick-ax, or 
lugging big chucks of plaster-encased history around - well, put simply: 
I'm there, dude!

That's all from me for now.  Until next time, keep the faith!

Jarrod Davis - Dino-lover and fellow dreamer.