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Autumn Sojourn

September 27, 2011

I realize that it has been a while since my last post on this page. It might be considered a fair excuse that “I’ve been busy,” and that is true in part, but this time it was also something more than that. I am often busy, but the busy-ness of late has been of a sort that seems to preclude blog-writing. Almost everything I have been working on has occupied the visual/spatial part of my brain: I have been drawing diagrams, and when I wasn’t drawing I was editing and laying out photo plates or posters, and when I wasn’t doing that I was tracing fossil comb jellies under the microscope.

All very enjoyable tasks, but when I tried to switch to writing I found that the words just would not flow. The middle-aged brain can still do each sort of thinking very well, but its flexibility has clearly diminished. It is much tougher than it used to be to switch from one type of work to another, so it seemed most reasonable to give the blog-writing a break.

A purposeful-looking Dave Rudkin is dressed to address the cold northeast wind.

I also gave the drawing/sketching/photography a break last week, however, as Dave Rudkin and I had scheduled a bit of fieldwork in the Grand Rapids Uplands (several hundred kilometres north of Winnipeg).  It was wonderful to spend a few days splitting Ordovician bedrock and examining the surfaces for horseshoe crabs, eurypterids, jellyfish, and whatever other creatures might decide to pop out.

We spent hours crouched over the bedrock surfaces.

It was chilly the first day with a bitter northeast wind, and the blackflies showed up in swarms when the wind subsided, but the repetitive activity in this peaceful place was very good for the soul. And the site has continued to yield fresh treasures: we came back to Winnipeg with a modest number of slabs of rock, but these contained articulated horseshoe crabs, eurypterids, and a couple of superb jellyfish.

My set of collecting tools: crack hammer, splitting chisel, Gad pry bar, and brushes.

Now I am back to the “real” work world of report writing and administration, so my brain is more than happy to take a break and write a couple of blog posts. As long as they are as simple and undemanding as this one!

Abundant linguloid brachiopods to the left cover a bedding plane surface. The jellyfish on the right is in a mud body that overlies the brachiopod layer.

Autumn in the Grand Rapids Uplands was already well along.

Ravens are everywhere in the Uplands!

© Graham Young, 2011

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Peter Lee permalink
    September 27, 2011 10:42 am

    Another great post Graham! Dave looks like a man on a mission… Excellent photography as always… I like the jelly fish : ) Glad that your team had a productive trip.

  2. September 28, 2011 3:49 pm

    Is this the field trip I missed? Wish I could have been there with you guys…it looks like you had a wonderful time.

    And the blog will always be there, waiting for you, once you’re ready to resume.

    • Graham permalink*
      September 28, 2011 5:16 pm

      Hi Holli, yes, this was the trip. It went very well, but we worked a very long day in the cold on Tuesday, and you would have had to put up with a LOT of complaining and groaning afterward!

      • September 29, 2011 11:42 am

        How do you know it wouldn’t have been ME doing the groaning and complaining? 😉 Sorry I missed it!

      • Graham permalink*
        September 29, 2011 11:58 am

        At the time, we did think that you were missing a good opportunity to discover what it is like to spend a very long day crawling around on cold rocks! I suspect that we might have heard a bit of groaning from you, since we were both incredibly grateful that the vehicle had heated seats.

  3. September 28, 2011 6:41 pm

    Graham, good to see you back on your blog. I can appreciate your comments on the inflexibility of the middle-aged brain! Back to classes while still trying to finish off the fruit of summer’s research! Groan! Shifting between lectures and data analysis is like shifting gears on a standard car when you’ve forgotten to plug it in on a cold winter’s day and its lubricants are like wet clay!

    But great pictures of your recent trip.

    Dave G

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