The fern fossil I found

Bex Hall
2 min readFeb 21, 2022

In the woods on the ridgeline

St. Albans, WV

38° 22’ 58”N, 81° 51’ 45”W

There were about four acres of woods that separated the back of our house from a neighboring subdivision. In the center of these woods is a ridgeline, a high point where you can see for miles. The rocks and fallen trees made an excellent playground for an eight-year-old in 1972.

I don’t remember the details about how I found the fossil, but I remember tearing through the woods downhill at breakneck speed to show Grandmother.

The Funk & Wagnall’s encyclopedia at home wasn’t enough to answer my questions. I begged to be driven to the library. Books and librarians became my best friends and from this research, my life’s path became clear: I would become a paleontologist. Or a geologist. Could I be both?

So maybe not so clear.

And did I become either? Well, no.

What I became, though, was an intensely curious person.

The moment I found the fern fossil was the moment I had an internal shift. It’s the first conscious memory I have that a world, other than my own, existed.

This is the 6th story in the Objects as Waypoints Writing Project series.



Bex Hall

Bex is an artist who writes and a writer who arts. Current WIP: memoir about cheating death, 2nd chances & the power of kindness. Blogs at