The clock is ticking down, the calender moves toward May 14, the day of my return to Kentucky, so I’d better see everything on my list. High on any former biology teacher’s list would be the exhibit BODIES. Many are horrified at the thought of going to an exhibit of dissected humans and human parts, but it was beautifully done and respectfully displayed. This is not a morbid experience, and there were no snickers from the teenagers. Every system of the body is explored, with emphasis on the elegance of form and function, and on health. Life-like poses displayed the layers and layers of interacting muscle, ligaments, bone, nerves, and blood vessels. There was one display that showed all the ways orthopedic surgeons can put us back together, with pins, screws, plates, rods, and artificial joints. In the respiratory system exhibit, there was a display of a smoker’s lung with a big bin of cigarette packs and a sign — “throw in your cigarettes and kick the habit!” My very favorites were the preparations that showed all the tiny blood vessels of the kidney and placenta…this is really ART, as well as science. As I walked home I thought of all those little bones in my foot, acting as little levers, and then locking when I stand still. “I thank You that I am fearfully, wonderfully made!”
My sidekick, Sister Jan, left on Palm Sunday (I still feel like I have forgotten something when I get on the subway alone!) The day before that we had time for one last adventure, and I let her pick it out. Our Ursuline New York native, Sister Nancy, always asked me if I had seen The Cloisters when I went to NYC for meetings; well, this time I did. The Cloisters is a medieval monastery with cloisters, chapels, chapter room and courtyard gardens, all brought over stone by stone from various European monasteries, mostly in France and Spain. It houses the Metropolitan Art Museum’s Medieval Art exhibits, and is set in a park on a hill overlooking the Hudson River. John D. Rockefeller donated the land, thoughtfully adding a good sized chunk on the opposite New Jersey shore, so nobody could ruin the view by building a McDonalds or Walmart. It was a lovely collection–a real religious experience.
And going from the sublime to the ridiculous: on the way there, we had to walk several blocks to change buses. As we walked by a Dunkin’ Donuts shop, a naked (i.e. no feathers) live chicken ran out of the store, to the delight of passersby, who cheered for the chicken. Do you suppose this is related to the fact that Dunkin’ D is advertising “fresh chicken sandwiches?” ( I think it must have wandered in from the ethnic grocery shop next door.) NYC is full of surprises!
And in case you have been wondering about the escaped cobra, she was found in the Reptile House only about 100 feet from her cage. Now, from being a humble young teenage cobra kept in a back room, she has become a celebrity, on special exhibit at the zoo…and she has a name. From tens of thousands of submissions, “Mia” was chosen, for “Missing In Action.” One of the runner-up names was “Cleopatra,” so my entry of “Cleo” was not too far off base. And that’s the latest update on wildlife in NYC…