"There was also, I think, brisk trafficking in metaphysics around the traps since it was widely believed that opal was found not by geologists, by fossickers, but by the dedicated, the single-minded, the pure in heart."

Janette Turner Hospital, Oyster, 1996

Fossicker: A persistent searcher. From ca. 1890. Gold + Opal prospecting term, Australia. `Fossicking` is a term found in Cornwall and Australia referring to prospecting. This can be for gold, precious stones, fossils, etc. by sifting through a prospective area. In Australian English, the term has an extended use meaning to `rummage`. The term has been argued to come from Cornish. In Australia, `fossicking` is and was protected by a number of laws which vary from state to state.


(1) Fossick means--

(a) search for fossicking materials in a systematic or unsystematic way--

(i) on the ground's surface; or

(ii) by digging with a hand tool; or

(b) collect fossicking materials.

(2) However, a person does not fossick merely because the person picks up a specimen of fossicking material the person finds by chance when doing something other than fossicking.

from OED:

Fossic v.:
‘To search for gold by digging out crevices with knife and pick, or by working in washing-places and abandoned workings in the hope of finding particles or small nuggets overlooked by others. Also, to fossick about.’

By extrapolation 'fossicking' is the gerund form of the verb to fossic.



Turning over stones

Deep Mapping


"Science, on the other hand, as described by Coleridge, was synthesis. It attended to mergings of body and spirit. It honored the visions of the Reason, but not without proving them with the evidence compiled by the Understanding. Science as Coleridge rendered it was poetic, uncovering relations between vision and logic, subject and object, mind and matter, energy and form. Coleridge's famed method, described in The Friend (1818)...could be used by scientist and poet alike, both of whom should study organisms not only for their own sake but also to find their relation to each other and to man. It is

"natural to the mind which has become accustomed to contemplate not things only, or for their own sake, but likewise and chiefly the relations of things, either their relation to each other, or to the observer, or to the state and apprehension of the hearers. To enumerate and analyze these relations, with the conditions under which they are discoverable, is to teach the science of Method."  Coleridge

In this science of method, Emerson discovered a way to interweave his most heart-felt concerns. He could unify revelation and nature, life and form, insight and expression. He could be both naturalist and poet, scientist and preacher. It was this method that metamorphosed him from a writer of sermons to the author of 'Nature'.


And some musings on 'geo-poetic' approaches:

“Each of them in his own tempo and with his own voice discovered and reaffirmed with astonishment the knowledge that all things are one thing and that one thing is all things— plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time. It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.” 

Steinbeck, The Sea of Cortez