You know how it is when your whole life seems to have been the setup for a punchline, and then the Golden Moment arrives?
At Kripalu there’s this Labyrinth, a landscape construction involving spiraling pathways punctuated by items left by visitors, displaying intentions of various sorts (decipherable and otherwise), fairly obviously mystically inflected and semi-informed by various Traditions. Watches left as memento mori, keys as metaphors for… coins, rocks, pinecones… well, you get the idea:
Somebody has contributed a road-kill armadillo:
Now, this is western Massachusetts, and the nearest armadillo on the hoof is maybe Texas… so SOMEbody has to have brought this road-kill armadillo from maybe Texas, in order to commit it to its place in the Labyrinth. Setting aside the questions of why and with what mystical intention, we can ask the practical question
HOW was it brought?
And the answer leapt to my mind immediately:
It was brought
There. My life is now complete.
I spent the weekend walking around Boston and Cambridge, revisiting old haunts and enjoying the leading edge of what will eventually turn into Spring. Among the locales I visited were Harvard’s Agassiz Museum (nowadays it’s called “Natural History”) and Peabody Museum of Anthropology, both of which I frequented at several points in my young and not-so-young life. Many of my favorites were still in place, and I could trace the distant origins of later fascinations. The stuffed animals were pretty startling because I remembered expressions and postures very exactly. Even the basic smells of the place are pretty much the same as they were when I first knew them about !! 60 !! years ago… Amongst the ornithological specimens I found illustrations for
Auk! that’s no puffin I know
Can’t pronounce “guillemot”
That’s a murre
(Hark back to mid-2006 for other “That’s amore” variants)
Another bit of resonance was the ceiling-hung skeleton of a Right Whale which I can remember being especially impressed by as a child:
…which was (doubtless) the source of the image I used to retail to classes of students as an analogy for the search process: you take in a LOT of information and sort through it as a baleen whale sieves krill, keeping the tasty bits…
Another image, from a later date, is provided by the Pirarucu
…the namesake of the Collaborative Information Management tool I was working on in Summer 2002 –a scheme that was Ahead of Its Time.