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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