my old home

being back in my old hometown (drumheller) has given me time to dwell on old times and memories. nothing seems to stir them quite like the specific locations of my now gone life.

none more then this seemingly unassuming part of the royal tyrrell museum, the cretaceous garden. it is one of the most missed places in the whole building, partially caused by it being tucked in such an odd corner of the building, and the fact it was a greenhouse.

not that it is an ordinary greenhouse, mind you. every single plant kept in here is a close relative of plants that grew in alberta at the end of the cretaceous. in as many cases as the museum curators could manage, these plants are as close to the prehistoric form as could be found today. in some cases this means their only a bit like the extinct forms, but in a few crazy cool cases the plant have barely changed.

this however required acquiring plant species from very obscure locations around the planet (the less changed by evolution a plant, the better an indicator it comes from some where cut off like a tiny island or remote valley). in fact the tyrrell has been heavily working on cataloguing its collection, as it is one of the few in the world like it (which wasn't realized when it originally assembled in the 1980's).

why i have such a fond attachment to the place though, is that this used to be my home.

right after i first go my job at the tyrrell, i was mean to dan and craig, who had up till then been letting me live with them. dan in particular didn't take that well (though i know it hurt my legal guardian craig... he just never let it show), and so the two of them (who also worked at the tyrrell) arranged for me to become an in house specimen at the museum... aka they kicked me out of their house for being a rude roommate (i don't entirely blame them)!

so the museum decided to put me in here.

for better or worse this was my home for over 2 years. my job back then was a "visitor experience facilitator"... which was fancy talk for a dinosaur statue. that's right, my job was to stand around in here and pretend to be inanimate!!! apparently despite my "people friendly" personality, i was a deterrent to guests experiences, and so i wasn't supposed to bug the museum's visitors...

not that i ever stuck to that job description. i'd accidentally talk to people all the time, and my boss cam never told the big cheeses.

just like everything else, the cretaceous garden has changed a lot since i was here, and yet not at all...

the obvious changes are in the vegetation. so much of it has either grown or been outright cut back since i left. very little of the green is the same... though MOST of the trunks and stems are as i remember them (i did sleep in and amongst them after all).

yet so much of it is the same as when i lived here. like my chilling bench is still here. i used to slump down there after a days hard work greeting and talking to guests (or uh, i mean pretending to be a statue...).

i received a lovely reminder of times long gone from above. my visit corresponded with the cretaceous garden's misting. this is of course to keep the humidity up for these mostly tropical plants (the badlands are quite arid afterall).

back in the day this was my version of a shower. i used to pretend i was just like a human, and would sometimes ever use a scrub brush while this was going on... which is embarrassing to admit, as back then in my youth i didn't realize you need soup for that to work!

my walking about startled this little stray garter snake. it clearly had snuck in from outside as they often did (through cracks in the emergency exit doors), and it reminded me of all the other life i shared this place with when i lived here.

during my days not only were intruding snakes my roommates, but so were frogs, turtles, fire belly salamanders, gold fish, gar, and infiltrating sparrows. sadly i only saw this snake today (the turtles had long been removed due to health concerns of children handling them)

i walked by the garden's nursery. funny enough i lived here for 2 years straight, and yet i'd never gone in there once. seriously, not even as of today (or today) have i been in there

it was an off limits area to the public, and only the garden's manager was allowed in there. it always had this sort of sinister air about it (in that with my hyper sensitive t-rex nose i can really smell the bad chemicals used in there).

oh well there are always things about our old home that were there in plain sight that we never did, used, or saw. this is just mine.

i can't say i don't miss the old place. yet at the same time i'm not eager to move back in.

it is just nice to be able to visit my old home...


Glendon Mellow said...

I was really surprised and delighted to find the Cretaceous garden in the Tyrrell when I visited a couple of summers ago. It just wasn't something I expected, and (perhaps in part to the humidity) visitors didn't linger long. I could have spent the whole day.

Traumador said...


it is funny how many people miss it going through. not that i blame them. it is sort of hidden.

the most common question you'd get from visitors (after where is the bathroom :P) is how to get to the garden.

had they put in the synthetic tree welcome sign when you went. that full size tree was designed and built by a guy who built trees for the lord of the rings!