Bone tour

(For for duration of this post, let’s just pretend “that’s what she said” isn’t a thing, okay?)

As you may already know, my house is home to a growing collection of bones. I enjoy having them around for some of the same reasons I enjoy collecting feathers and shells and driftwood and stones: natural objects and their structures are just fascinating to me. The diversity of stuff on this planet is pretty mind-blowing.

But I’ll admit it, I also get a little sentimental about my bits of calcium. They serve as a quiet reminder that nothing — none of us, nothing we do or create, nothing we enjoy or endure — is permanent.

I’m okay with that.

I’ve come a long way since, as a child, I was so afraid of my own skeleton — its very existence evidence of my eventual death — that I convinced myself I was the only person in the world held together by a structure made of rainbows. But you can’t make it through art school being squeamish about your anatomy.

(Pencil drawings by me of me, circa 2006-7)

So this is a post created in honor of bones. I’ll take you through my collection, starting with the two pieces above which I picked up while hiking with the family: a pelvis fragment (I think?) and a slightly-gnawed deer antler. Small mammals chew on bones over the winter, when times are lean, so it’s difficult to find antler sheds intact unless your timing is excellent. I am told that a friend has collected a whole bunch of them for me, though, and I can’t wait to get my hands on them for what will certainly be a slightly hokey yet totally fun DIY project.

The antler lives in a vase by my television, while the pelvis is tucked in here. Smaller bones are hard to display, so I often find myself nesting them inside other objects.

And now for the big bones. You’ve met the bear, of course, but he has a back story.

He came to me by way of a friend who made it his goal to live as close to nature as possible (he blogs here if you’re interested in what the lifestyle entails — apparently a lot of waterproofing things and trapping rodents, but hey, whatever floats you boat [GROAN]). When I mentioned to him that I have a habit of collecting these kinds of objects, he sent me a big box full of interesting things he’d come across on his travels. The bear skull was the most impressive item, but I also really like this partial deer:

He lives (as much as a skull can be said to live) in the new bookshelf in my home office, guarding one of my mother’s antique butterfly guides. She was a bit of a collector and nature enthusiast as well.

And now the newest addition to the collection. On my family’s recent vacation to the Poconos, we got knocked off a very poorly marked hiking trail and had to scramble our way through a thick forest, where I came across this little lady:

Dad was maybe less than enthusiastic when I picked her up with my bare hands and asked if I could stuff her in his backpack (I believe his exact word were, “Great. Let’s all see if we can get some horrible disease.”), but he’s nothing if not indulgent. So I cleaned up my doe and now her home is on the mantle in the living room.

Check out her plates:

Thus concludes the bone tour. That is, unless you want to take a crack at identifying these mystery teeth that keep showing up in my back yard:


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