It was a busy week last week. A break in my son’s schedule allowed for a quick visit to Nashville, a rare treat given his endless touring. But before I get to all that I wanted everyone to know about the latest issue of Kaatskill Life Magazine. The Spring 2012 issue came out while I was away and featured an article entitled “Art Murphy Unearths Ageless Beauty in His Photography.” I’m very thankful to the folks at Kaatskill Life for the eight page spread and interview conducted by Bob Titus (aka the Catskills Geologist). It’s always a treat to see one’s work so nicely displayed. For those not familiar, Kaatskill Life is a quarterly glossy magazine always full of great articles and photography focusing on the Catskills region. Pick up a copy if you’re in the area or order it from Amazon.

And now back to Nashville. My son, Shaun Balin, fiddler extraordinaire, has been calling that town home now for almost five years. And most of that time he’s been on a tour bus or plane, playing venues from arenas to honky tonks. Here’s a pic he sent me from rehearsal the day I left:
Aside from hanging out and catching up, we did manage to find some “culture” – a great show on American Art at the Frist Center – courtesy of the Phillips Collection in D.C. (my favorite museum anywhere!). I got to hear Shaun perform at a local gig (of course he sounded great as always). And we even got in a bit of fossil hunting and hiking.

Some quick research online led me to lists of fossil sites in the Nashville area. The area in general shows evidence of the Ordovician Period (earlier than the Devonian by approximately 50 million years.) We chose to look for a quarry said to be rich in fossils. Directions consisted of nothing more than a street intersection. Sounded like a fine opportunity to explore.

One of the interesting aspects of the web is that time may advance, but web pages can sit out there forever, making outdated pages (and lists) seem as valid as something posted yesterday! Well, we found the intersection – all four corners were occupied by churches and mini-malls (I actually believe that churches by far outnumber mini-malls, maxi-malls, and just about everything else down there. Ah, nearer my god to thee!) On closer inspection we noticed a solid rock wall that wrapped around two sides of a Verizon store. The store had been dropped right into the corner of the (obviously) long abandoned quarry. A ten foot wide corridor between the two proved to be our proper destination. So we picked and poked and found some interesting Ordovician fossils (brachiopods primarily). I even brought some home.

Right in the middle of urban hustle and bustle, far different from my beloved Kaaterskill Creek, we found abundant proof of life 450 million years ago – probably much to the chagrin of the many evangelical churches that surround what’s left of an old quarry. And here’s the proof:

Thank you for the visit. More images at

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