It's hard, today, to believe that this winter has a bottom. I think we will go on falling forever, surrounded by a field of vacant white.
No writing yesterday. Early in the afternoon, we drove up to Albany, which is about an hour north, to the New York State Museum. On the one hand, it's a marvelous place, a delight. On the other, I've rarely seen such a chaotic, disorganized museum. I suppose you might say it lacks a coherent narrative, swinging as it does from Adirondack wildlife to historical archeology to minerals to old cars to ornithology to Harlem in the 1920s to a mastodon skeleton to the original set of Sesame Street. It's a bit like the attic of the Empire State. Still, it is a great museum, despite the frustration. We spent about two and a half hours wandering through the exhibits, marveling at this and that. We took a few photos, and some of them are behind the cut (appropriately in no particular order whatsoever):
Welcome to the eleven-story Cultural Education Center, a monument to the unholy nightmare of Brutalist architecture. Built between 1976 and 1978, it became the home to the State Museum upon the building's completion. The top of the 589 ft. tall Erastus Corning Tower is visible above the CEC, another strikingly ugly example of Modernism.
The Hudson River Valley at the end of the last glaciation, a mastodon and her young.
The Cohoes Mastodon (Mammut americanum), discovered in 1866 during construction of Harmony Mill No. 3 near Cohoes Falls on the Mohawk River in Cohoes, NY. The skeleton has been dated at 11,070 years old, give or take 60 years.
Me and a mastodon.
Kathryn and I did not expect to come suddenly upon the original set of 123 Sesame Street. But we did. The way her face lit up, I thought she was going to cry. Afterwards, she said, "I touched where Gordon and Susan sat." When I was in kindergarten in 1970, I saw the very first episode of Sesame Street. It's something I recall quite clearly. Forty-five years later, I lay my hand on the steps of that mythical brownstone. It made me a little giddy.
I think this one's fairly self-explanatory, though I will note – so you can appreciate the age of this rock, that the earth is currently dated at 4.54 billion years.
The thing I came to see, more than anything else, was a temporary exhibit displaying material from the BU Paleobotany Collection (recently transferred to the collections of the NSM). I was dismayed (and disappointed) to see that the entire exhibit occupied one paltry case! The BU Paleonbotany Collection consists of many thousands of specimens, and all they could manage was one corner? Seriously? The exhibit text calls it a "treasure trove," and they display only about a dozen specimens?
All photographs Copyright © 2015 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac
I came home to the news that we finally have an artist for Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird. More on that later. I don't want this to get lost in this post. But it's a relief.
On Thursday, I went back to work on "The Aubergine Alphabet" and did letters M and O.