Last July I collected one of my first sand samples, locating garnet-magnetite sands in a small cove east of Hamlin State Beach on Lake Ontario. It turned out to be one of the more popular trade sands I have and although I still had some I decided to venture out again this year. I was curious whether the accumulation would still be there, virtually one year later. Perhaps last winter’s storms removed the heavy sands and I might have to search anew. But they were right where they had been a year ago and even more stratified.
On July 4th, we celebrated our nation’s independence with fireworks. This year many public displays were canceled, but if your neighborhood was like mine, there were still plenty of pyrotechnics decorating the evening sky. The wonderful colors are all part of simple elemental chemistry and most owe their origin to minerals and chemical compounds (metal salts) produced from those minerals.
A while back I wrote an article about paleontologist Mary Anning and the postage stamps that honor her amazing discovery of marine reptiles in the seaside cliffs of southern England. After reading the story, Donna Smith informed me of a historical novel she had enjoyed about Mary’s discoveries and her life in early 19th century England. I am not an avid reader of historical fiction, but I decided to give this book a try, ordering a copy online and putting it on the top of my June reading list.
“Remarkable Creatures” was written by Tracy Chevalier and published in 2009. It was listed on the New York Times Bestseller list. I found the narrative very easy to read as the author mixed actual geologic and historic events into the lifestyles and culture of the time. Women were not expected to hunt fossils, much less study them, and Mary Anning was not of the “proper class” to be taken seriously or given credit for her accomplishments regardless of her gender.
Some of you may know that the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club was founded in 1974. You may also know that Jim and Marion Wheaton were the driving force behind its creation and its growth. Jim passed away in 2011, but his wife Marion continues to read our newsletter and follow the club’s events and adventures. Their daughter, Diane, also shows Marion Facebook posts that our members post.
Well, Diane saw my Facebook post in mid-June when I sought input for the next month’s newsletter. Coincidentally, she was also organizing pictures that her 89-year-old mother had accumulated. She picked out one of Jim Wheaton’s mineral pictures and wondered if we might be interested in seeing a specimen Jim had collected on a WCGMC field trip over 40 years ago. What a wonderful thought and such a fine gesture.
Those of you who are studious readers of this esteemed blog may recall I wrote an article for the entitled “My 2020 Vision”. The theme revolved around the word “more”. I planned to do more collecting, more giving, more writing, more research, and to have more fun with club activities. It appears I overlooked something when I scripted my vision. I did not foresee a global pandemic and all its ramifications. As a result, I have only achieved 40% efficiency. Yes, to more research (I think) and certainly yes to more writing, but the opportunities to collect and give rocks away and to have fun during club events sort of evaporated. The entire season of spring passed us by without a single club event.