A Tale Unearthed

Dinosaur bones slightly uncovered in the middle of a lonely desert landscape
“A Tale Unearthed”, 16in x 12in, acrylic on canvas

The dinosaur who belonged to the bones we found must have suffered as he sank into mud, but more from embarrassment than fear. Mortified rather than petrified.

“They were lords of the earth at the time,” you quipped. “To get stuck in a mudhole, not able to get out.”

“What his friends must have said when they heard,” I replied.

It amused us to think on this tragic event. No disrespect for the fossilized dead, but really — you’re twenty yards tall with feet a foot wide and can’t manage to step out of mud? 

“Maybe mud puddles once ruled the land and our history’s simply wrong.” 

I considered your theory, it had some good points. Of mud’s eating habits little is known. Nothing at all, that I’ve heard. 

Unlike the tar pits of old. La Brea is famous for its voracious ways. But mud far surpasses tar everywhere, so the top predator would be mud.

“Water and dirt conspired as one to mingle in mucky ponds, then silently lurked to trap dinosaurs that wandered about alone. Yes,” I agreed, “it makes sense.”

“How else,” you added, “would mudholes acquire the bones to tell their tale?”

“What tale?”

“They knew one day they’d bake into stone. They wanted to leave a message, a sign that they were here.”

“Fossils. How brilliant. That’s how we know a mighty mudhole was here.”

“Long ago…”

“When dinosaurs ruled—”

“Stumbled. Got stuck. Drowned in mire.”

A shame, I thought. “Yet preserved for all time, in a way.”

We scraped away dirt surrounding the bones, wondering how much more lay hid. Warier now of the age-crusted mud that formed the ground where we knelt.