There's more than one kind of wrinkle in time.
Trace fossils chronicle
the behaviour of organisms,
records in rock, not just of
walking, but also of
Asteriacites, snow angels made by starfish
burrowing on the sea floor. Prehistoric snail trails preserved in sandstone,
tetrapod trackways with dragging tails.
Fossils big as brachiosaur footprints or miniature as microbial mats.
Rugalichnus mclaughlinensis helps close a gap in the fossil record; rugalichnus, loosely translated, is “wrinkle trace.” This aquatic bacteria has formed
concentric rings in rock, a stone-in-a-stream ripple effect
frozen in time
for hundreds of millions of years. Take only pictures, leave only footprints, they say. Digital breadcrumbs
from my explorations in
Rockwood Park don’t garner likes;
a clumsy thumb in the frame
mars a sunset, in obligatory selfies
I often squint and rarely smile.
Despite my dainty size five feet,
I will not be tracked by shedding
a stray glass slipper on a stair.
My sturdy hiking boot squelches
in thick, sticky mud.
If conditions are right, the mark that it makes
might live on, engraved in the landscape,
written in rock, long after I’m gone
and it will be proof I was here.
Stimson, Matt, et al. "Rugalichnus mclaughlinensis: A New Ichnospecies of Microbially Induced Sedimentary Structure from the Nonmarine Early Carboniferous of New Brunswick, Canada." Fossil Record 7, vol. 2, edited by Spencer Lucas and Robert Sullivan. New Mexico Museum of Natural History Bulletin, vol. 79, 2018, pp. 673-89.
Sturgeon, Nathalie. “Scientific Find Named After Norton Man: A Microbial Mat Has Been Named After the Late Paul McLaughlin.” Telegraph-Journal [Saint John, NB], 13 Nov. 2019, p. B3.