Monday, July 28, 2014

Harvard Museum of Natural History



Every person who should have a place that hits their reset button. Clear all.

I yearly get out of the rut of my vocabulary, my pet "ideas," my "secret plans and clever tricks" as Roald Dahl calls them, with a pilgrimage to Harvard's Museum of Natural History. It's as good for me a reset button as a wild remote waterfall or the City of Vienna might be for someone else.

I am thankful that a day of seeing 19th-century whale skeletons, a taxidermied yak, and a spiral of specimens of butterflies pinned on velvet, and glass models of sea creatures made by the father and son team the Blaschkas does it for me. They're so beautiful. The tiny hydroids look like sundrops. I want to wear everything.

I sit in front of the dolphin-like monster Chronosaurus which had 10-inch teeth and I feel small, in a good way. In a really good and important and resetting way.

I am a link in this confabulist story: Life. And so is the Predatory Sea Slug. It brings my incessant search for narrative meaning down a peg. The way looking at the stars does, if I could see them.