Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Nature wins the art prize again

San Francisco's Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, designed by Renzo Piano and built as about as green as is currently possible, (for example, the insulation is old denim and it has a living roof) merits all the rave reviews it's gotten since the opening on September 27, and then some! I was fortunate to be there last night with a smaller crowd than during normal hours, so had a wonderful chance to see everything from the tiniest frog to the albino alligator. We spiraled up the levels of the rain forest, dodged the butterflies, puzzled out shy lizards and reptiles in their habitats, walked under and among fish in the Amazon, peered at the living roof in the dark and the fog - and every minute I was marveling at the incredible art skills of Nature. Nature never, ever misses - not with color, or form, or proportion, or texture - and she has an inexhaustible sense of humor and whimsy. There are always surprises and so many ways to learn, just by paying attention. Among my favorites - tiny tree frogs with bright red bodies and deep blue toes, set like jewels in the folds of green leaves - a zippy little turtle who was having a wonderful time zooming around his tank - a soulful chameleon in the Madagascar exhibit who let us know that the human species was the one to be stared at.

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