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This chapter points to the unevenly transformative effect of vibrant material memory as it operated within the bounds of settler geology. Beginning with a reflection on the interest in fossil traces, the chapter then explores three engagements with the Connecticut Valley fossil footprints then believed to be the tacks of prehistoric birds: the enlivening investment in something like geological magic that inflects the scientific tone of Massachusetts state geologist Edward Hitchcock's earliest writings on the tracks; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's lyric poem “To the Driving Cloud,” which positions the tracks alongside the trope of Indigenous “extinction”; and Hitchcock's later writing on fossil traces, which complicates the uses of deep time that we have seen thus far. The ambivalent operations of the tracks demonstrates both the seductiveness of geology as a conduit to the possibilities associated with the inhuman, and its limitations in relation to all-too-human histories of racial and colonial violence.

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