Monday, April 9, 2012

The Encounter

Mondays are usually the hardest days to get up and start the work-week. It takes effort to drag yourself out of bed, then drag kids out of their beds. It takes time to adjust to the speed of getting the kids ready for school and yourself for work. No Monday is an exception! But what do we do over the weekend that makes us all so tired?

Well… during the week, every week, I find myself planning the coming weekend and packing it with all the fun activities we could not do during the work-days.  And, knowing that the past weekend was going to be filled with Passover Dinner, an Easter Egg Hunt and family gatherings, Varuzh and I decided to take Friday morning off and take Alex to the Natural History Museum in downtown LA.  All of us were excited to see the famous Dinosaur Display – it is said to be one of the biggest in the world – and, I have to say, we were not disappointed.

As we strolled down the museum halls, we saw a giant T-Rex and other dino skeletons, a forty million year old fly discovered somewhere in Europe, and full size displays of many animals that had lived on this Earth. We saw live and deadly Giant Whip Scorpions and Brazilian Tarantulas.

But why are we so fascinated? I would never want to encounter any of these creatures in my life! And why, when the visitors see the Tarantula, do they get facial expressions of disgust mixed with fear, and yet, instantly pull out their cameras?  Is it exoticism of two hundred million year old bones? Or is it thrill of imagining the encounter as if it were real? Or do we simply crave to be closer to nature? 

As I watched Alex running from display to display, touching the bones, the horns, and observing the moves of Tarantula, I thought that maybe we, the humans, simply feel the need to identify and communicate with other beasts and, in the process, discover our shared identity… And, as we got to the display of archeological tools, we imagined with Alex the great thrill the archeologists felt when they were first to discover a forty million year old fly or two hundred million year old dinosaur skeleton…

…Before we left the museum, we had to stop by the Butterfly Pavilion filled with beautiful colorful creatures. They were so friendly and inviting that all the visitors, children and adults, felt the need to carefully and patiently interact with these tiny beauties, sharing the experience with each other, none of the people felt like a stranger. I found Alex patiently waiting for a butterfly to fly from dad’s palm to his and then to someone else’s…  

Then someone said that in September the butterfly season should be over and the place will be transformed into a Spider Pavilion… “Ew, spiders,” I thought, “Got to come back and check them out…”

On a less creepy crawly note, I will be baking carrot cake cupcakes tomorrow for the first time!

With love always,
xo Zuma A.

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