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Re: Fieldwork or bust? (Was: Stenopelix valdensis)
Experiencing fresh air and near heat stroke is the closest that
most of us will ever come to experiencing a vision quest.
And there are the very personal spiritual moments when seeing and
touching a pristine new find, and smelling the evanescent hint of
peat and decaying plant matter that sometimes is associated with a
fossil bone (e.g., in the Hell Creek). One's ability to appreciate
the particular specimen as an individual, as a living organism, is
most profound when it is first encountered in the field. Later it
takes a bit more effort to reconstruct that feeling when holding the
fully prepared specimen in a museum, and harder still when it is
abstracted and reduced to a publication. The writings of a Loren
Eiseley or a Teilhard de Chardin do not fully substitute for the
first-person spiritual experiences that can be gained in the field.