At the museum

June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

You’d be forgiven for thinking it’d been abandoned, sitting there like that in the middle of the main hall. People milling back and forth, gasping as they first glimpse the dinosaur skeleton dominating the space, or barrelling through towards the special exhibition hall over on the other side of the room, so that this red foldaway pushchair is the least of their concerns.

There is so much to see, so much of how we were and where we came from, that it is impossible to be anything other than overwhelmed – the egg of a prehistoric bird here, a tiny stone monkey there, and elsewhere the chimpanzee skeletons hurtling endlessly overhead as if their long-discarded flesh had only encumbered them.

Somewhere, a toddler has strayed, has seen a bright sparkling thing and is making a beeline for it. Somewhere in this hall is this pushchair’s occupant, steadily evolving in a way that old Darwin himself, watching over everything from his stone seat up on that back wall, would have been proud of. Hard to tell who the parents might be, in amongst the throng.

Quel that mounting panic, now, and think about the tools we use and discard as we grow – the pushchairs, the stabilisers, even the schools. Think about young dinosaurs learning to walk, and hope that somewhere in the hall the child is safe in a parent’s arms.

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