Growing up in California, I never ran into another Jensen. Our family was an island; alone in the sea of last names. Occasionally, some kids at school would even think my name was the cartoon equivalent of Jetson; not that it bothered me.
But in Utah, there’s no shortage of Jensen’s and you can find one around any corner. And Mike Jensen’s are so common that if you swing a stick, you’ll hit three of us.
Even cooler than that, there’s a town in Utah called Jensen. I had never visited the town until today.
Jensen lies in the upper northeast corner of Utah and is the gateway town to Dinosaur National Monument. A welcome center is all there is for visitors. So we visited the center and then proceeded to Dinosaur National Monument.
The day’s snow kept us from hiking or being able to explore anything beyond the paved roads. But we did get to spot a pair of bald eagles along the Green River and visit the quarry and its Wall of Bones.
The wall of bones is a preserved section of the actual quarry where thousands of dinosaur bones have been excavated over many years. This wall, has the visible bones left behind so others can see what a target-rich fossil environment looks like.
I’ve seen dinosaur skeletons before. I’ve seen people on TV digging bones from the ground with their brushes and hammers, their straw hats, and their dusty long sleeve button-up shirts. But to see the raw bone encased in the rock struck me differently: they were real.
The bones were where history had placed them millions of years ago. They hadn’t been rearranged or assembled. Maybe identified for the uneducated tourists (like me), but they had yet to be moved.
Visiting historical sites is to touch history. To touch history is to feel the history that happened there, to imagine it in context of its location. In turn, I feel a part of it.
Jensen may be Danish in origin, but it has now lead me to something new to which to be related.