Friday, January 18, 2019

Written in Stone: Rocks Don't Scream

In my first year at Acadia University,
I considered majoring in biology.

I quickly abandoned that plan when I observed 
an experiment in my Biology 100 Lab.

Frog Dissection Gone Awry
flickr: dave whittaker  license

My instructor picked up a live frog,
stuck a needle into the base of its skull
and wiggled it around to destroy the frog's brain.
To my horror, the noun pith became an unforgettable verb.

Then he proceeded to dissect the immobilized frog,
so we could observe its beating heart, working lungs,  
and leg muscles contracting with electrical stimulation.

Since frogs can breathe by absorbing oxygen from the air 
through their skin, they remain "alive" after their brains 
have been destroyed and their living physiology can be observed.

The instructor calmly assured us 
that the pithed frog could not feel any pain.

Intellectually I accepted that,
but the revulsion I experienced
ended any thoughts of a biology major for me.

I switched to geology,
because rocks don't scream when you cut them.

A Rock Saw wikimedia 

I never looked back!

I had always been interested in rocks and fossils,
but now I fell in love with geology
because it was Stories Written in Stone:
Stories spanning unfathomable stretches of time
playing out in the past, present, and future.

I learned to read the rocks 
and understand their majestic stories.
I became a wonder-filled traveler in time.

In future Written in Stone posts, 
I hope to share my wonder.

 An Enduring Love
North Mountain Basalts on the Fundy Shore:
They were the first rocks I learned to identify.
Summer 2015
Point Prim, near Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


  1. My daughter was going to be a vet until she had to start dissecting things her senior year of high school and realized she really isn't a fan of blood. She quickly switched her major to biochemistry. I guess she'd rather make the medicine instead of diagnosing the issues. Glad you were both able to still find an area of science that you could excel in. The world definitely needs more female scientists.

    1. Happy Saturday morning, Theresa! Your daughter was fortunate to discover that biochemistry would be a better fit while still in high school. Biochemistry is an important and exciting field and should have lots of opportunity. I have a niece waiting to hear if she has been accepted to vet school. In her senior year at Acadia, her jobs outside of school included barista and performing autopsies on all coyotes killed in Nova Scotia. It was very gross, but also fascinating for her. Congrats to you daughter for following her path. Have a good one!

  2. Can't say I'd be a fan of that. Sure hope I never come back as a frog. But at least it lead you to where you truly wanted to be and you rocked on. Hopefully not off your rocker as you went on the rocks. Had to rock the boat before I hit rock bottom. Hey, I have to get my rocks off somehow. They just popped in so I rocked on. Beats a frog in the throat, right?

    1. LOL ~ And thank you, Pat! I feel like I've received my very own Orlin post playing on rock(s). Please give Orlin his favorite kind of scratch or rub or pat for me as a thank you; and in the name of sibling peace, please do the same for Cassie. All the best to you, my friend! Have a great weekend!

  3. lol, I can see why that put you off biology. I love rocks too.

  4. I can understand your revulsion. In high school biology we dissected frogs that had been preserved in formaldehyde. It smelled bad, but no parts of the frog were still moving. Still, I'm not so thrilled with taking animals apart.

    In my early college days I started out with a major in Psychology, but then I switched to English. That move was for far different reasons than yours--statistics steered me to another pursuit.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. Hi, Arlee! I think a lot of people hit dissection and that does it for them. English, my other love. I had a geology degree with enough English and Theatre credits for a minor, and later I took a second degree in English with enough geology credits for a minor. I'm not sure what Chaucer and Hydrology had in common, but I had a whole lot of fun! It all works out in the end. Thanks for commenting. Have a good one!

  5. We are so much alike! I was also sickened by disection in school, my friends laughed at me.
    I also adore rocks! I am so proud to recognize that the rock at Stone Mountain, Panola Mountain and Arabia Mountain are all similar but different...if you read my posts about them, you will see what I mean! Look forward to your posts of "written in stone"! Hugs to you!

    1. Hugs back at you, Kay! I hope to have lots of fun with "Written in Stone!" We had close to a blizzard last night until about 11:00 a.m. It's still really windy and cold. I hope you and Richard are warm tonight!

  6. I always wanted to be a nurse in military hospital as i was fascinated by their strict discipline and uniform

    you quiet your wish to become a doctor for the reason which might have affected my decision too (if i had to attend to such frightening classes lol)

    i loved your choice dear Louise :) geology is very interesting ,i specially loved the way you explained it here such as reading the earth and leaning the history ,present and future at same time

    title of your post bring smile on my face
    yes rocks don't scream :)

    1. How lovely to see you, Baili! I remember nurses from my childhood who wore white dress-like uniforms, white heeled shoes with white nylons, and a white hat. Now it's very different. Our nurses wear colored and/or patterned scrub tops and bottoms and shoes that support their feet properly. The uniforms are easy to move and lift patients in as well as perform other duties, and they are easier to clean. I'm all for progress and function! And I don't miss those ridiculous hats!

      I have no regrets for switching from biology. I have a niece who has applied for a veterinary school. She has always loved animals and wants to be a veterinary physician. In her last year of university, one of her part-time jobs was performing autopsies on coyotes killed in Nova Scotia. Most of them were partially decomposed. She said it was gross, but fascinating. I think that alone should earn her a spot in vet school! Time will tell!

      I hope you are enjoying a good day, Baili! Sending you a big hug!

    2. Each of us has unique ability to learn and adopt things dear Louise!
      I am so happy that you were able to study your favourite subject
      Many are not as lucky
      Look at me .I was fascinated by the the brown uniform of army nurses and wanted to be one of them after my matriculation.

      But Destiny (Will of God) led me to be a house wife !

      I spent many years in crying for not being able to pursue my dream.

      But now after 26 years of married life I found myself one of the luckiest woman who got more than she could dream of

      A loving family. Wonderful husband.
      Precious kids who always make me proud of them

      If I would have succeeded in joining army I would have avoided the marriage .

      And today I would have been living a lonely life .
      And God who loved me did not want such life for me.

      How sweet that your niece is going to be a doctor for animals!

      She have heart of gold I must say!

  7. Hello Louise,
    Many thanks for sweet comment!
    Here are the details:

    Mobile safari in the Okavango delta in Botswana for 12 days in 3 different camps, fantastic places!
    Tents for 2 people on camp beds, basic but good comfort.
    The camp sites provide showers and toilets.
    The team involves 3 people: our guide and driver himself a photographer, a cook, and an aide-de-camp.
    2 safaris per day in an open vehicle
    Price: 3500,00 USD per person (season 2019) all included except plane tickets.
    You will be picked up at the airport at Maun.

    I really would enjoy to have you with me one day, it is such an exciting adventure!
    Anything can happen any time!
    I am taking 6 people in the 2 first weeks of April.

    Keep well
    All the best and you've got food for thought ;-)

    1. I forgot to give you my e-mail if you have questions and/or want to discuss anything:
      Warm hugs!

    2. Thanks for the info, Noushka! I'm hoping that's $3,500 USD per person and not $35,000 USD. I've definitely got food for thought!!

  8. I don't know how I managed to miss this post, but I did. Glad I found it now. This will be a terrific new series -- very interesting -- about a topic I know little about! Educate me!

    1. I just found your comment, Debra! Thanks for the encouragement!


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate the time and energy you put into making them very much.