For several summers in high school and college, I worked in my small-town cemetery, mowing lawns, digging graves and doing various maintenance chores. I have often been asked how I was able to do such a job. For us, it was merely work. We focused more on doing the work rather than on the end result. We plotted out the grave locations using a string and dug the graves by hand, using a spade and shovel.

I especially liked digging through the layers of soils of varying texture and color. These layers varied from several inches to a few feet in depth and the transition zones between layers were exceptionally thin, indicating long periods of deposition of similar material with sudden changes in between. As a young person with a budding interest in Earth sciences, I wondered about what life would have been like in these different geological times, and how erratic it might have been during the transitions.

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