I’ve returned from Easter at the Illawarra coast in New South Wales with a book recommendation and a question.
Roaming the coal cliffs and rock platforms along the beach,
I was reminded of Tracey Chevalier’s fascinating book, Remarkable Creatures. Below is an excerpt from the Washington Post –
Remarkable Creatures is about Mary Anning, an unjustly forgotten, real-life figure in 19th-century paleontology. She was the daughter of an amateur fossil hunter and cabinetmaker who died young (and once tried to overcharge Jane Austen). Mary helped support her impoverished family by combing the shore for (little understood) curiosities or fossils that could be sold to gentleman hobbyists. Mary was the inspiration behind the tongue twister, “She sells seashells by the seashore.”
Mary’s seaside fossicking occurred at a time when few understood the significance of these fossils. To give some perspective, Charles Darwin was two when Mary Anning was twelve. Remarkable Creatures is a triumphant tale of female adventure. It not only highlights the immense social and perceived ‘intellectual’ gulfs between men and women back then, but also generally of class, religion and science.
On the beach this Easter, I imagined what it might have feel like to be Mary Anning, discovering amazing fossils , asking questions, and being accused of fraud by the scientific community.
Now to my question. 🙂
Please look at my photos of the rock pools first –
What if we perceive our existence on Earth in the same, finite way that these creatures do, ie, that their rock pool (planet) is all that exists—is all that’s important in the universe?? (I don’t know, perhaps crabs and anemones have deep thoughts, I’m just assuming … )
It’s an interesting question that makes me feel … small.
Remarkable Creatures reviews: