Fyles Leaf Bed – A Write at the Merge Prompt

Write at the Merge is a creative writing prompt that provides two prompt ideas. Write a response-up to 500 words-using either or both of the ideas.

This week we’re honoring the genius of Dr. Suess, who was born on March 2, 1904.  Our two Seussical offerings are an image and a line from one of his books. Happy writing!

“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.”
Dr. Seuss, from The Lorax

Without further ado the non-fiction fiction:

Fyles Leaf Bed

Natalie picked up the fragment and began to examine it. With the help of her small magnifying glass she scrutinized it more closely before dropping it into her specimen satchel. She called out to the other two members of her team: “John!  Mike! Anything yet?”

John looked at Mike, who was busily digging below the rocky surface. “Mike?”  Mike shook his head and continued digging. “Nothing, Natalie. And, you?”

Pushing her glasses back into position on her nose, she shrugged. “Only fossilized wood fragments.”

This was their third summer scouring the Fyles Leaf Bed, a fossil deposit, near Strathcona Fiord on Ellesmere Island. Her research team had already established that there had been a boreal forest in this Arctic location 3 ½ million years ago and that the temperatures then were warmer by as much as 22 degrees Celsius.

At the base camp, John and Mike sorted out their small collection of fossil pieces while Natalie examined under the microscope the fragment she had found earlier.

“Well, I’ll be damned!” she muttered, removing her toque and throwing it on the chair beside her before heading toward five large trunks at the far corner of the dining tent.

Opening the trunk marked with her name, Dr. N. Rybcynski, she pulled out a thick, black-faced book and returned to her microscope. Opening to the section she had marked with a yellow tab, she read intensely for several minutes then looked through the microscope again.

“I think I have something! John! Mike! Have a look!” Stepping aside, she placed her hands on either side of her tiny waist and stretched her wiry, 5 foot 2 frame and watched for their reaction. “Well?”

John glanced over and smiled at her:  “Patience, Natalie, patience. Give Mike time to finish.”

Twenty minutes later, they had their conclusion. A bone fragment!

The next day at the site they catalogued 30 bone fragments.

In her lab in Canada, a month later, Natalie—with help from digital files taken of the bones with a 3 D laser scanner—confirmed that the bones were from the tibia of a large mammal and sent off her results in an attachment by email to Mike’s lab in England.

As she sat back and reflected on this information, her iphone vibrated in her pocket.

“It’s got to be two in the morning there, Mike. What’s so important?” she asked, rolling her chair closer to her desk and picking up her pen.

“I couldn’t wait! The collagen scrapings profile and your anatomical information clinch it.”

“Don’t leave me in the dark, Mike.

“It’s from a camel—more specifically, a dromedary.”

“That goes a long way to possibly explaining the specialized features in our modern camel.” She drew a picture of a dromedary on her writing pad. “Their large eyes, and wide flat feet would have been essential for survival in the long dark, snow covered arctic winters.”

“And, the fat storage in their humps,” he added.

“Yes, that too.” Smiling, she circled the hump.


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