13 June, 1998


The first day that I was here on campus at lovely University of Maine at Orono, I walked into the Edward T. Bryand Global Sciences Building. The entry alcove was dominated by an enormous granite boulder of a quite huggable size - about 3 feet around resting on a wooden pallet. It is carved with tunnels and a depression on the top. It reminded me of some of the knots that my topologically minded husband plays with.

It turns out that the rock is on loan from Admiral Byrd's oldest daughter E. Bolling Byrd

Clarke. Byrd is the man that flew over both the north and south poles. (Well, there is some question about the northern claim due to partially erased sextant readings)

The story goes that the rock was to have been placed on admiral Byrd's grave at Arlington National Cemetary. But family disagreement over the appropriateness of this natural monument led Ms. Clarke to loan it to U of Maine which is known for its strong commitment to Antarctic research.

The boulder was picked from the Dry Valleys by Harold Borns a longtime friend of the Byrd family. The 300 million year old boulder was carried out via helicopter in a sling in 1991. Until its fate is decided, this sculpted granite will remain at the University of Maine.

The next time we speak -it will be from Antarctica!!

Cheers ...& penguins.

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