Storytelling is a highly sought after skill. Can it be taught? I can’t answer that, since telling stories has always been an innate skill for me. I’ve been able to hold the attention of a room as I tell stories about a sandwich I bought or a plant someone gave me. I can turn the most mundane activity into a tale of wonder.
Storytelling is the difference between ‘I went for a walk by the river today’ and this detailed account :
‘While on a walk by a partially frozen river with my dog and 15yo son, I reach into the snow to pull out what I thought was the thick end of a weathered piece of driftwood.
It comes out easy because it wasn’t a piece of wood half buried. Turns out it was just a really smooth and beautifully eroded rock. I flip it over in my hand and see the underside exposes what looks like osteons (think sponge toffee). I show my son and ask him if he thinks it’s bone. He shrugs and tells me to do the tongue test. We learned about that while on a fossil tour at Dinosaur Provincial Park. If you want to know if what you’ve found is fossil or bone, lick your finger and hold it on the remnant. After 20 seconds, try to pull your finger away. If it sticks, even just a little, it’s bone. That trick works for small shards and pieces. But what I had in my hand riverside was about the size of a chocolate eclair. Here is where it gets weird.
I lean in and stick my tongue on it. My kid is out walking on the frozen ice of the river like his mother isn’t licking random objects. I count to 20 (with all the Mississippis). When I pull my tongue away it sticks a little. “It’s bone!” I yell to my kid. He comes back to me and we examine the piece trying to determine what it is (likely a piece of mandible) and from what (probably a deer). But neither of us is grossed out that I practically had a bone in my mouth. Maybe I’m wrong and it is just a rock. But now our dog is keenly interested in what I found and is sniffing it like she’s found a treasure. She is jumping up, trying to take it from me. So it must be bone, because rocks never interest her. I shrug, then toss the bone back onto the snowy shore, leaving it for nature.’
If you read the end, thank you.