I'm falling behind on my novel writing goals, so instead of a Weekly Science Roundup, you get this!
"Ode to the Gastrolith" is a piece I did back in college for the one and only creative writing class I ever took. My instructor was an...interesting fellow. To put it nicely, he had a lot of quirks and weird rules for writing that I didn't entirely agree with. So by the end of the semester, I just submitted things that I knew would mess with him.
|I wrote this based on the biggest gastrolith I'd ever found.|
The prompt was to write a short poetic reflection on an object that most people would overlook. As the class's only science nerd, I decided to write about something appropriately nerdy...something my instructor wouldn't know what to do with...GASTROLITHS.
Gastroliths are rocks that dinos swallowed, likely to help mush and digest their food since they didn't really do a lot of chewing. Modern day dinosaurs do this, too. Gastroliths fit my instructor's prompt perfectly. They're often overlooked, since they really do just look like rocks (because they are).
Anyway, I got a lot of question marks on this from my instructor, so mission accomplished. Up until a couple of days ago, I had forgotten all about this, until I stumbled upon it when I was looking for a different file from my college years. When I reread it, I knew I had to put it on my blog.
This is from college and was written to taunt my instructor, so it's obviously pretty terrible. But I have no shame and I'm posting it anyway.
Ode to the Gastrolith
Like a lumpy chicken egg, you sit in the dirt.
You are no egg, though. Inorganic and inedible, you’ve seen more than any hatchling could ever dream of seeing.
Forced underground by the planet’s sinking crust, incinerating heat and pressure from the world on top of you strained your minerals to a swirl. You only resurfaced after getting scraped upwards for millions of years, when you then broke off from your formation and were carried long distances by rushing water, freezing glaciers, and the ever present force of gravity.
And then a pause.
But not forever.
Your rest, interrupted. A Sauropod swallowed you. Down the long neck, the long gullet, smashed alongside others from across the world, shredding soggy dead plants, attacked by bile all before being shoved through the winding pathways of the intestines; it could have been years before you were ejected from this massive body.
Post defecation, polished smooth, you waited by yourself, as contrasting jagged rocks broke apart into shattered piles around your resting place. Alone and different, you waited until now, unaffected and patient.
This is your story of survival. Survival on your own.
colored green and purple by metamorphosis, rounded and beautified by dark biotic chambers and churning acid, you were sentenced to weather the past 80 million years at the mercy of a drying environment.
Find solace in your lifelessness, Gastrolith,
and in the aged wisdom
of your dense ignorance.