Okay, so I totally forgot to post about this! Thursday, in addition to being Lincoln’s 200th birthday, was Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday as well! That’s right, those two awesome guys were born on the exact same day! I had the pleasure of attending a birthday party at the Essig Museum of Entomology, where we drank two buck chuck, ate lots of birthday cake, and generally celebrated natural science in a wonderful geeky way. Personal highlight: making friends with a giant walking stick insect, who climbed up my arm to my shoulder and then got really confused because I wasn’t a tree. Sorry dude!
I can’t let this communal birthday go by without recommending two of my very favorite books. The first, Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent, is about Darwin’s trip to South America – it’s SO much more than the Galapagos and the finches, people. I can’t really explain how inspiring this book was to me; maybe you should just read it and find out if it affects you the same way. The second book recommendation is Passing and Quicksand, two novellas by Nella Larsen. Larsen is a fairly obscure author from the Harlem Renaissance, and these are really her only major works but they’re absolutely startling. They are both beautiful to read and genuinely enlightening.
Misha and the birthday cake (I particularly like the ‘ascent of man’ figures at the top):
Giant Walking Sticks!
Okay, just for the record, the walking stick I made friends with was significantly cuter and more demure than these guys.