A Lush Fernery in Far Northern Wisconsin - Part 1

January 28, 2019

Ferns have held a particular fascination from me ever since I was a kid. A friend of the family was a lady who worked for the Field Museum in Chicago. On many weekends we would join her family on a fossil collecting adventure to the strip mines in northern Illinois where she showed us how to scour the weathered spoil heaps for particular reddish-brown nodules known as concretions.

 

Several carefully-placed hammer blows would cause the stone to split in half, sometimes revealing within a delicately preserved fern frond which had arrived in my eager hands as a time capsule from the lost world of the Coal Age around 300 million years ago. Ever since then ferns have evoked prehistory for me and a longing to see and understand what has been lost for eons.

 

Their fractal patterns also appeal to my aesthetic sensibilities and are also well suited to being used as a meditative aid in discerning the nature of the universal creative force.

 

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