Monday, February 25, 2008

Portrait of Eggs

"When you start with a portrait and search for a pure form, a clear volume, through successive eliminations, you arrive inevitably at the egg. Likewise, starting with the egg and following the same process in reverse, one finishes with the portrait."

-Pablo Picasso

In the midst of all this IVF technology and petri dish babies, I forget that I am still part of nature. I'm not just a piece of meat to be probed and experimented with. I'm actually in the middle of one of the most amazing parts of nature - the making of the egg. 

On a short hiatus in Boston, I stumbled upon the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Needing a short respite from the blistering cold, I welcomed the warm quiet of a museum. As I walked through the halls, it's no wonder that two exhibits stood out to me. First I went to the Glass Flower collection by artisans Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka who created nearly 4,400 life-like representatives of the plant kingdom. I was not only struck my the amazing craftsmanship of the glass flowers, but also the endless variety of flower ovaries. Some ovaries were simple, others like intricate jewels, and all were distinctly beautiful. 

The next exhibit I was drawn to was called, surprise surprise, "Nest and Eggs." There were breathtaking displays of bird eggs, showcasing their diversity and the way birds nurture their young. Each one, from the basketball-sized egg of the elephant bird to the tiny hummingbird egg, was stunning. I couldn't believe that this same kind of beauty was happening in me. Where's the exhibit with the big uterus and my stimulated assortment of follicles? But in fact, this is what I have to remind myself that what's happening in me is indeed of museum quality distinction.

So this is my ode to the eggs growing in me right now. From the glitzy fabergé egg to the frail Humpty Dumpty to good old green eggs and ham, my eggs, your eggs, are part of the distinguished array of eggs in this world. Beyond how many they will retrieve this Saturday, or how many will fertilize, or how many will implant, I make these incredible things called eggs that are the beginning and the end and everything in between.

As the great author Zora Neale Hurston writes, “The present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell.”


luna said...

what an amazing display! go eggs.

and I love the ZNH quote. makes you think for a moment.


Anonymous said...

I think I must visit the Harvard Museum. I would love to see the Nest and Eggs exhibits. The pic is lovely. Thanks for sharing it with us. I have an egg at home made of Art Glass. It is a treasure.

shinejil said...

I've read about those glass flowers and always wanted to see them. I've heard they are eerily realistic.

Thanks for your lovely ode to those miraculous cells we produce. How often we forget them.

tobacco brunette said...

You are so creative and talented. I love your approach to IF blogging.

The exhibits look amazing! And you make an excellent point - there is still a little nature mixed in with the all the science of ART.

Fertilize Me said...

you teach me so much!

Emily said...

Thank you so much for such a wonderful post! I love how you emphasize how important WE are in the reproductive process.

After all ... what came first? The chick or the egg?! :-)

Amy said...

You are such a talented writer. I wish I was as good with blogging as you are. :)

Swim said...

Love the egg art. Thanks for reminding me that we are not just some mad science experiment and are still part of the process. Sometime we get lost in the whole crazy IVF process and forget.

Ahuva Batya said...

We were just at Harvard looking at the glass flowers last month! I found them fascinating... my husband, who always seems to think someone is pulling a fast one on him, refused to believe they were entirely made of glass.

I appreciate you turning your (and mine, as I read your blog) back to nature. As scientific and sterile as this all feels, in the end it is still miraculous. Thanks for that reminder.

Smiling said...

As soon as I read 'Harvard' and 'Museum' I thought - wow isn't that where those amazing glass flwoers are. That was one of my favourite haunts when my life brought me to Harvard Square.