Remembering Our Own Age of Reptiles
For the last few years I’ve been inspired by our friend Pat Webster’s approach to garden art. (You can follow Pat through her blog Site and Insight.) Pat likes garden art that reflects the particular – the life experiences of her and her family, her forebears, the history of her own acreage.
I like this approach. It makes for a garden that is more personal, more unique. And that is why I now have a 3′ long dinosaur in the garden (though I’m not sure if Pat would want to be the inspiration for a garden dinosaur).
For at least a decade, you see, dinosaurs were pretty central to our family life. Our first son, Daniel, was obsessed with dinosaurs from about the age of 2. David, our younger son, was also keenly interested – but not to the same fanatical extent.
For a year or so, Danny’s favorite book for reading aloud was Danny and the Dinosaur. He had God knows how many plastic dinosaurs of many, many kinds, and he knew all their scientific names. In third grade, he was writing fan letters to famous paleontologists (with some adult assistance).
Weekends often involved trips to the Field Museum to see the dinosaur skeletons. There used to be an exhibit called “DNA to Dinosaurs”, but David thought its name was actually “Danny to Dinosaurs”. When we visited my parents in New York, we would always visit the Museum of Natural History, which had even bigger and better dinosaur skeletons.
Finally, one summer the whole family set off on what we called The Grand Tour of the Dinosaurs, which involved driving around Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, visiting famous dinosaur sites.
After the Grand Tour and the onset of puberty, our dinosaur mania began to fade. This was partly a relief but also a bit sad. The kids’ fascination had allowed me to indulge in a little bit of a second childhood.
So, long story short, I decided that our garden needed a dinosaur in memory of our family’s very own Age of Reptiles. Judy agreed, and so I ordered one – a Triceratops, to be exact. I found it online on the website of Design Toscano.
It was ordered in June (as a Father’s Day present to myself), but was back ordered for so long that it didn’t arrive until last Saturday, just before my birthday. Made of some resinous material, it’s 3 feet long, about a foot tall, and weights 14 pounds. More important, it looks marvelously realistic, once you get past the reduced size.
Danny came over to cook me a birthday dinner the following day, and he was pleasantly surprised to meet our new acquisition.
Now that we have our dinosaur, certain issues must be addressed. First, where to put it? Personally, I think it should be lurking among the ferns, but Judy says that makes it too hard to see from the porch.
It looks good with the Wild Ginger, too.
Second, he (I think it’s a he, though he is anatomically ambiguous) needs a name: Trevor? Terry? Tristen?
And finally: what if he gets bored or lonely? Doesn’t he need a Tyrannosaurus to fight with? Judy says no, but when you consider that I could have bought the full-size Triceratops (almost 18 feet long and a steal at $3,250), so a second much smaller dinosaur seems the least we can do.
Perhaps, with the next generation, our family will enter a new Age of Reptiles. When the time comes, I want to be ready.