Some of my earliest memories are set in the exhibit halls of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, NY. Looking up at the towering knees and distant neck of the adult sauropod in the main lobby is one.
Aiming a camera for the first time and snapping my first photograph is another. The subject; an upright brown bear.
I remember the hall of reptiles and amphibians. It's entryway flanked by one alligator and one crocodile, each basking in a rectangular dust-proof glass case on the floor. I remember extending my baby hand at a right angle and planting it at the level just above the gator's nares, so I must have been about 30 inches tall.
I vividly remember dino-shaped chicken nuggets.
I was brought back there over and over again year after year. When I was old enough, I went there by myself. My parents have since moved to Connecticut but I still trickle back in from time to time.
Last week, I opted to be in the exhibit halls on my 25th birthday.
Earlier today, at 6pm, I emerged from the collection and headed towards the exit. The museum was completely quiet. I entered the main lobby and out from beneath the sauropod display scurried a brown city mouse. Right then, I felt sure that my life was on track.