Thursday, March 10, 2011

Inspiration in the queerest of places.

There is so much I could write in this posting about my journey back West, the things I saw, the emotions that I felt. I made it a point to explore the obscurities that the desert had to offer on the twenty-four hour road trip. One stop we made in our tiny box truck packed with two people and two dogs was quite a curious destination. Just outside of the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, was a stop that promised us petrified wood, and dinosaurs. Did someone say "DINOSAURS?!??!!" If you didn't know... I LOVE dinosaurs. Why? That's a whole 'nother blog post.
When we exited the highway, we climbed a windy dirt road up to an outlook over the freeway. I begin to look around and can't quite manage to take it all in. There are large dinosaurs made of what looks to be a weatherproof version of paper-mâché, large stumps of wood almost everywhere, and gorgeous two foot tall chunks of what looked to be glass. A beautiful array of things littered everywhere next to a run down white building and an enclosure that housed about 60 or more ostriches.
Before we entered the building that promised us unique fossils, I started to notice a detail more bizarre than even the modern day dinosaurs in the pen, mannequins. I know what you're thinking, and yes... I felt like I was about to volunteer myself to partake in the true life version of The Hills Have Eyes.
Why not, right?!?!

We entered the small building, which was once a house, with caution and were greeted by a tall, very polite, very well spoken man in his late thirties/early forties. The space was filled with dinosaur fossils and petrified wood cutaways that had been diamond cut and polished, as he had informed us. He had done all the excavation himself. As I start to think that this man has high-powered cutting tools nearby and a place to conveniently bury our bodies, I realize a certain tone in his voice. Passion. He loved all of these things in this room. He spent so much time doing this, and took so much care with them, and wanted to share them with people by selling them in a place that people didn't frequent, but would stop through and have this memory and be fascinated by the things he cared so much about. This man probably gave up everything he had to do something he loved.
He spoke scientifically and informatively about the objects that were neatly scattered all over the floorboards and wooden shelves. I could see a sparkle in his eye as he talked about the properties of ironwood, and asked us to try to lift the abnormally heavy meteorites that he had found, and when he pointed out the mosasaur teeth and fossilized crocodile skulls. I bought some jewelry and thanked the gentleman for sharing with us. 
I will never forget this, and I will always remind myself to do what I love, and to be passionate about my artwork. You will find inspiration in the strangest of places.

If you are ever traveling down I-40, don't forget to stop here and check out all of the cool stuff. Don't forget to feed the ostriches!

Don't look behind the shower curtain in the bathroom.
Dinosaur legs, they have pads like dogs.
Mannequin-eating dinosaurs

She watches over the place, and rides terradactyls.

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