Lunaya Pravda

04 May 2007

Why doesn't this kind of thing happen to me?

I can't recall if I've mentioned it before, but though I work as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analyst, my degree is in geological engineering. After graduating, I worked in the environmental department at an oil refinery, and then moved to a project involving the cleanup of an old bombing range, pushing me further into environmental work and away from my major.

And while I do have some quibbles about the nature of the work I do--most of it is for private business, but a small amount of my work is funded directly by the taxpayers--for the most part I enjoy my career choice. I harbor no illusions that without government beasts such as the EPA, available environmental jobs would be a fraction of their current numbers, but most of my work involves projects with companies seeking to limit their environmental liabilities, remediate sites at lower costs, and generally keep the government entities off their backs. Though not as glamorous or high-paying as an engineering job would have been, I think working in practical geology would have killed much of my interest in geology as a hobby. (Hmmm, did I really just say engineering was glamorous?)

I've been to the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show a couple of times, and spent a ridiculous amount of money on mineral specimines and fossils. But hey, it's a hobby, and I'm not apologetic about indulging myself from time to time.

However, why oh why can't I stumble upon finds like this in my own back yard?

Clyde Friend was bulldozing a driveway around his shop when he first saw them in the dirt: gleaming pieces of the past. A forest of stone, more than 15 million years old.

For the past five years, on this hillside above Yakima, Friend has been pulling out pieces of rare petrified wood, no two pieces alike. Branches, trunks and slices in sunset colors. Pieces purple and blue as mussel shells. Pieces like winter sky, gray and white and all the tones in between. Pieces that ring like a bell when struck.

A gorgeous round of petrified wood found its way home with me two years ago for an obscene amount of money, and yet this guy gets an entire petrified forest for the cost of excavation?

Not only would this kind of discovery nearly make me wet myself, it's worth a fortune. Life just isn't fair sometimes.

Labels: ,