Wednesday, September 27, 2006

petro-tarsi and clay footings

Vernal is out in northeastern Utah by the border of Colorado. that’s where 3 generations back the Remingtons fled a burning house and mortgage. and that was when my grandma’s family moved out to Salt Lake City. Vernal, Utah is also where they dig up dinosaur bones. in the 50s the National Park Service built a visitor center with this big housing over the bone quarry.
here’s a photo of my brother and I visiting the bones like 20 years ago. one year my wife and I went out there for our anniversary. it was mid-March so we stayed off-season at this frozen hunting lodge/honeymoon cabin with a large heart shaped jacuzzi. there was a rusted flintlock rifle hung over the bedroom door and a big chiffon bow hung over the bed. in the corner, a TV/VCR with 30+ VHS tapes. that was the last time I went out to visit the dinosaur bones. the day was overcast and we were the only ones there. a couple months ago they closed the place down, probably for good.

no fire, no arson and I’m pretty sure that they’d had the place all paid off. the swamp clay that has sheltered the bones for 150 million years has been slowly tearing down the structure from the ground up. it looks as if bentonite, which likes to maintain a certain medium of entropy, is a handier base for holding your bones than for your building. so the floor had become all uneven and caused the rest of the structure to splinter and crack apart, pulling away from the hillside, yanking free a ceiling beam here, buckling a doorframe there, and so on. there’s a disquieting fable in this. but what is conspicuously absent is the place being haunted; lonely dinosaur spirits or the ghosts of individual bones wandering around when the visitors have gone home. I’m sure I did read something about how most of the fossils are sorta radioactive.


T.R. said...

I wonder what happened to my 7-up baseball cap.

kel said...

this makes me sad. one of the first family trips i ever took was to 'Dinosaur Land'. it was the longest road trip i'd even been on (age seven). we listened to The Glad Menagerie eight track and i learned what a cinema was.

eped said...

last weekend someone told me the guy from that TV show Shark is from there too. just wait until he finds out!