We have some new friends in the area who have a fossil rich creek running through their property. It’s a five minute drive to reach the creek, or a mile and a half walk as the bird flies. Some days, the older boys take off through the woods, equipment in tow, and spend hours on an adventure, coming home with muslin bags full of shark’s teeth and other little fossils. As a family, we started fossil hunting five or six years ago. We have favorite spots that we visit regularly (all requiring a drive) and my oldest son, Seth, follows the adventures of other fossil hunters online. To have discovered fossil hunting grounds so close to home after all these years has been a really exciting turn of events for him, and the other kids as well.
Saturday afternoon, Seth was hoping to spend some time in our friends’ creek, and I volunteered to drive him and Keats over and drop them off. I had things to do at home, but didn’t mind the quick drive. Beatrix wanted to go too and I told her she could could ride along, but wouldn’t be able to stay without an adult, and I definitely couldn’t stay (that spring to-do list!) I hadn’t yet actually seen this creek and Seth really wanted to show it to me. So, I told Beatrix that she could have a few minutes of hunting for sharks’ teeth before we headed back home. That few minutes quickly became an hour as Beatrix was so engrossed in her task, shoveling gravel into her sifter and hunting for teeth, that I just couldn’t stop her. She felt so grown up, like one of the big kids. The rare and good find in this creek is the Otodus shark’s tooth. Only a few have been found and the boys always hope for one on these hunts. Of course Beatrix mimics them and made it clear that her hope was to find a nice big Otodus as well. In one of her last sifter’s full of gravel, she found her Ototdus, the only one found that day.
Bea didn’t complain at all when I told her it was time to go home a little while later, and I didn’t regret spending my time with her in the creek, rather than accomplishing the tasks I had planned for that Saturday afternoon. I can still hear her happy exclamation of, “My whole ever life, I’ve been wanting to find an otodus, and I did!”
“Her whole ever life”: such a Beatrix thing to say. She’s still singing about that tooth.