Well, just one, really. A teeny tiny one, but it’s mine and I collected it fair and square.
Perhaps I should back up a bit.
There is, within a few hours of driving from here, Calvert Cliffs State Park. There’s a short hike from the parking area (almost 2 miles of wagon-and-stroller friendly hiking trail) that takes you through the woods and down by a small stream that flows along beside you for a time, then joins up with a wetland and some beaver ponds covered in lilypads and cattails. There are dragonflies everywhere zipping about like multicolored jewels on fairy wings. When you get to the end of the trail, you are standing at the lapping edge of the Chesapeake Bay, and just a few feet from an 18 million year trip back in time.
According to the information posters on the signboard next to the beach entrance, the cliffs are basically three strata of time: modern near the top of the cliffs, and stretching back some 18 or 19 million years, and every time the Bay laps at them, every store that comes through whipping the winds across the cliff face, every small animal that scurries up it seeking shelter dislodges a little more of the past.
The beach is absolutely covered in fossils. Most famously there are shark teeth ranging from the extremely tiny (like mine!) to the terrifying dino-shark sized ones that others have found. And you, my dear member of the public, may go there and pick up a few fossils of your very own for an extremely cheap entrance fee! Or splash around in the Chesapeake for a while to cool off on a horrifically hot day. Whatever floats your boat.
So the other day my father and my son and I took a picnic lunch and went back in time. I may have also taken a few photos for inspirational purposes: a lone mushroom that practically glowed in the brush by the trail, a frog sitting at the entrance to his home, a bench that looks like a bus stop in a Miyazaki movie…
If you’re nearby I do recommend a trip out there. It’s lovely, and a nice walk, even if you just go down a trail part way and turn around. But it’s worth it to plop yourself down on the beach with a sieve and a shovel and hunt for your very own shark tooth.