Wednesday, December 4, 2013

REVERB13 (Day 4): "Dinosaur Dick" dies, leaving me mourning man and symbol of deep time

TRAVELING THROUGH DEEP TIME IN THE AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK.  In May 2010, I found myself on this one-track road in Queensland heading toward the small town of Boulia, located in an area that 100 million years ago was a vast Cretaceous sea trafficked by such exotic marine animals as ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and ammonites. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for DEEP TIME and those that study it for us! Hallelujah for ways of understanding life, loss, and symbolism! Hallelujah for "Dinosaur Dick," the Australian Dinosaur Trail, and Boulia, Queensland, Australia!

EXPLORING DEEP TIME IN BOULIA.  Traveling the Australian Dinosaur Trail brought us to Boulia to meet "Dinosaur Dick" and to see his collection of fossils from the Cretaceous that he had wrestled out of the ground from the surrounding area and displayed at the Stone House Museum. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

In response to Kat McNally’s Reverb13 (Day 4) prompt:


I would like to eulogize "Dinosaur Dick," a man I only met once, as well as explain how another person's death comes to symbolize my own losses in the expanse of deep geological time.

ME PICTURED WITH DINOSAUR DICK!  Traveling with my dear husband Chiboogamoo throughout Australia has given me the opportunity to meet some of the most fascinating paleontological personalities like "Dinosaur Dick." (photo by Chiboogamoo, aka Tony Martin--see his blogs written about Dick, here and here.)

“Dinosaur Dick”, a paleontology foot soldier, died this year, in June 2013. I only met this crusty character once, but he made big impression on me, enough of one for me to grieve his passing both as an individual and something more—something he symbolized.

THE STONE HOUSE MUSEUM IN BOULIA.  Dinosaur Dick curated this museum for 15 years. Don't be fooled by its modest accommodations. The fossils were out back in a shed. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)


First, however, the who, what, and where about “Dinosaur Dick”! In 2010, my Chiboogamoo (aka Tony Martin) and I met him at the end of one-street town in western Queensland on the Dinosaur Trail. Yes! Australia has dinosaurs...marine animals from the Cretaceous! And Dick Suter, nicknamed “Dinosaur Dick,” was the curator of the Stone House Museum in Boulia. As an amateur paleontologist, he had collected most of the fossils displayed at the museum and created educational displays for visitors. A knowledgeable, enthusiastic and natural story teller, Dick Suterwas a delightful find for American tourists, one of which is a paleontologist (my husband). Seeing an academic and amateur paleontologist talk was a joy to me—Dick Suter, a former station worker, had his own confident way of talking about ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs. With Dick Suter’s death, the town of Boulia lost a significant part of its touristic clout for those traveling along on the Dinosaur Trail. 

A DISCUSSION BETWEEN AN ACADEMIC AND AMATEUR PALEONTOLOGIST.  Perhaps academic and amateur paleontologists don't have the same way of talking about things but they certainly have a lot to discuss and both share passion for the topic. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)


Dinosaur Dick’s death leaves me grieving just as I find myself grieving every fall season as leaves drop from the trees swirling around my ears and landing at my feet. I am reminded of Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, “Spring and Fall: To a Young Child.”

ICHTHYOSAUR FOSSIL AT THE STONE HOUSE MUSEUM.  Falling leaves and ichthyosaur fossils from an ancient marine environment--what do they have in common? The passing of time. Symbols of our own mortality. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Margaret, are you grieving

Over Goldengrove unleaving?

Leaves, like the things of man, you

With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
PAINTING OF AN ICHTHYOSAUR.  (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

The poet goes on to conclude his poem with the thought that we don’t grieve for the leaves but are instead grieving for our own eventual death:

It is the blight man was born for,

It is Margaret you mourn for.

For some reason, the passing of “Dinosaur Dick” fills me with the sense of irretrievable loss. What riches of the world exist NOW but only for an uncertain indefinite time before they pass too? So in answer to the question:

LEAVING BOULIA AND DINOSAUR DICK. Who knows when we say good-bye to someone if we will see them again? (photo by Hallelujah Truth)


As a 55-year-old woman, I am grappling with chasms of time passing me by without dipping my toe in the stream. I am grieving lost opportunity to know Dinosaur Dick better and to meet others like him as I dally about in my life. I feel an urgency to LIVE MY LIFE NOW. I have quit my job of 20 years to BE PRESENT to the what needs to BE LIVED NOW.

I have left a meaningful job teaching internationals English and the companionship of the colleagues that accompany such a university position. Along with leaving my job, I left a secure identity and means for earning a living. But all of these losses were calculated in order that I could




That’s Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me. Tell me WHAT HAVE YOU LOST, WHAT ARE YOU GRIEVING?


  1. I love your tribute, the pictures and your message :)

    1. Soul Blogging is rewarding for me Christine because it is such an interesting way to go deeper into relationships at a distance.

  2. What an interesting life you have lived and to have met so many different and informed persons. Losing someone who has made such an impression on us certainly brings to the forefront of our minds how temporary life on this planet earth is and that someday someone will be digging up our fossils to study them as we do now with what has passed before us. A wonderful blog Ruth.

    1. Darlene we are mutual admirers of each others lives...I think yours is so fascinating and often feel the loss of children and grandchildren. How surprising our journeys are! Thanks for understanding the message of my grieving sense of lost time and needing to spend the remaining time thoughtfully.

  3. Amazing post--wow! I feel for you. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Wow! It is very nice post. I like your pictures.

    Kopi Luwak