A nine year-old girl, playing with my daughter, came up to me this afternoon, carrying a handful of small stones from the beach.
“I want to be a geologist when I grow up,” she says. “Want to see what I’ve got?”
She’s got a collection of fossils of small marine animals, yet we’re on the shore of an inland lake. I sense a learning opportunity.
I pick out a fossilized coral polyp, and begin. “Do you know where this came from?” I ask. She shakes her head.
“This was an animal that lived in a coral reef, in the ocean,” I say. I’m about to talk about the scale of geologic time, and continental drift, and the glaciers that deposited the hodge podge of stones underneath our feet.
The girl’s eyes light up, and she volunteers a bit of her own knowledge first. “They were brought here in The Flood,” she says. “My grandpa calls them Noah’s Stones.”
She thinks the stones are six thousand years old. She doesn’t know the word “fossil”. Her mother has been homeschooling her, with the help of her grandfather.
What chance do you think this girl has of ever becoming a geologist?