Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bugs, Rocks, and Wildlife

We had some business in Cambridge yesterday, and afterward we visited some of the Harvard Museums: first the Semitic, and then the Peabody, the Comparative Zoology, the Natural History... whatever. I'd always thought there was just one museum in the Peabody's building, but there are lots.

I enjoyed taking photos — very quickly, unobtrusively, and without flash because I had no idea if it was permitted, and there was no one to ask. I didn't take any pictures of the glass flowers, our first stop. We hadn't seen them in decades and they impressed us even more than they had all those years ago. But although they are perfectl and amazing in every other detail, we realized that their colors invariably look faded and stale, so we were never the least bit fooled into thinking they were alive.

The dinosaur bones, animals, fish, and birds were very, very dead, too, but they were much more fun. Click on a photo to enlarge it.



We have a handsomer Possum at home.

A cheerful armadillo and her less-happy sister.

Bats are underrated. They're adorable — and so hip.

This weird creature is called a "potto."

A squirrel in a poncho?


The butterflies make the bug displays more tolerable. 





Ever since high school biology, I've enjoyed creepy dead things in jars.

Finally, we looked at rocks. Give all the New Age theories about the powers of stones, you'd think that the mineral galleries would be electric from all that spiritual energy. But there were just the usual school kids, making racket.

A satisfyingly big hunk of quartz.

Afterward, we had a lunch at Casablanca (orecchiette with oyster mushrooms, toasted pignoli, and roasted tomatoes in vinaigrette), peered in at the Design Research display in the former Crate and Barrel, browsed the bookstores, and bought our favorite chocolate-orange-pecan scones at Au Bon Pain to take home for tea. Then we froze waiting for the #1 bus, as usual.

An excellent way to spend a chilly winter Friday.

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