blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A natural glow

This morning I cycled into town to visit the current exhibition that's on the top floor at Ottawa's Museum of Nature: Creatures of Light, Nature's Bioluminescence. It's a wonderful show, enhanced by the other-worldly music that plays in the background (yes, for once I thought of background music as an enhancement!) and which in the subdued lighting causes visitors, even the children, to fall into a trancelike state of awe. Some small children there today even seemed a little frightened by the strange exhibits glowing in the dark.

Firefly, Photinus_pyralis (Wikipedia)
The explanatory detail is very well thought out and displayed, with just enough interactive screens to help you concentrate, and I like the way they have film clips of present day scientists talking about the excitement of their research. The museum has firefly carcasses embedded in plastic that you can turn over (to see their light-emitting parts) and magnify. Not many live creatures (or plants, or unclassifiable plant-creatures) are on display, but the ones that have been made available for viewing, mostly in the marine section of the exhibition, are fascinating. I spent a long time staring at the beautiful, gently moving corals and gleams of split-fin flashlight fish in a tank of unlit water (Do not shine iPhone lights at them or they might die! say the warning notices.) The small jelly fish swimming up and down in their tank likewise transfixed everyone who came by. The enlarged models of the creatures show you what to look for and where to look––otherwise I might have missed the delicately thin but deadly filaments under the body of the jellyfish.

Aequorea victoria (Wikipedia)
I was lucky to have arrived at the museum before most other people did, so that there was no pushing to look closely at the exhibits and no children being noisy or impatient. Later in the morning the queue for entrance tickets was quite long, probably because it had started pouring with rain. I went out to get back on my bike (with its wet saddle!)––enveloped in a transparent, portable waterproof, that billowed like a jellyfish as I pedalled home.

No comments: