Saturday, February 28, 2009

Orchids through Darwin's Eyes

Yesterday A. Todd and I had visited the newly opened American History museum and found an hour on our hands before the other Smithsonian museums closed. We decided to run through the Natural History museum next door. Now this is the type of museum I don't usually choose. I think it'll be great fun one day when I have kids and we can talk about the giant whale hanging from the ceiling or the real and very scary giant squid in the case, or the humongous woolly elephant in the front lobby. Or the dinosaur bones. Or the Egyptian mummies.Well we happened upon a temporary exhibit: Orchids through Darwin's Eyes, and it was literally a breath of fresh air to these very non-scientific eyes. I could actually smell the room before we arrived, and I was in heaven.Now I haven't always loved orchids. I have always loved flowers, but I prefer more natural flowers that don't require such care. I love wild flowers and I love the mix and match of color and shape and size. I love having fresh flowers in my home, even if they are the cheap things from the grocery store (but apparently no tiger lilies for me! I had the most delightful bright orange lilies this week until my roommate informed me she is allergic. Alas!)

I honestly couldn't tell you anything about how Darwin actually used flowers in his research--I was only eyes for the color and nose for the smell in this exhibit. But I love the idea. I love the ability to manipulate and care and nurture and observe something and then watch the results--to learn and take note and try again. I love the ability to use beauty to produce beauty, the process of learning the laws of nature through careful observation and appreciation. I want to do the same. I want to live my life that way.

And I want spring. Oh how I want spring. Spring with its sun and blossom and fresh green and hope.


Jennifer said...

See, when I come, I'll need weeks because I will want to see every single museum and exhibit in that blessed place!

Did you know I love orchids? we visited an incredible orchid farm in Thailand. It also had the creepiest butterflies I've ever seen in my life. They were more like bats. They were huge.

Spring is here. Maybe you should fly west???

Lael said...

Okay, I should have read this entry first. I don't curse your snow so much, so long as you have suffered and longed as we have here in Utah.

I read this charming book called "The Evolution of Jane." Fiction. Funny voice. A woman's trip to the Galapagos Islands and her discovery of Darwin and how he applied to her own relationships. I recommend it.