Thursday, April 05, 2012

lenten journal: mammoth sight

My parents took us to the Waco Mammoth Site this afternoon. Some years ago, two teenagers stumbled upon some bones in a dry creek bed which led to the discovery of a “nursery herd” (meaning females and babies) of nineteen mammoths that had all died together in a flood during the Ice Age in Texas (in which Texas was still not very cold). Excavations at the site have found five layers of flood victims over thousands of years, each one stacked on top of the next. Along with the mammoth bones, they have found evidence of giant bears, armadillos, and even a camel. I found myself humming a song I wrote with my friend Billy for a UBC youth retreat. The lyric said

like dinosaur tracks down at glenrose
everyone’s leaving a trace
life is a hand’s on adventure
what marks will I leave when I’m gone from this place
Glenrose is not so far away from Waco and is home to an excavation that uncovered dinosaur bones. (I guess you’d already figured that out.) The chorus of the song said:
I have a fingerprint
it’s like no other one
I leave my fingerprint on this world
God has a fingerprint
it is a mark of love
God leaves that fingerprint
all over me and this world
I have been fascinated by our finitude for as long as I can remember. We are only passing through, as far as our time on this planet goes. Not even the mammoths could amount to much more than the dust between the layers of bones left behind when the creek dried up. None of us gets remembered forever. And – not but – and we leave our mark, our fingerprints in the dust. It matters that we are here not because of anything other than we are here.


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