Whoops. Hello there, neglected Blargh. I should really post here more often. Therefore, here are 1,116 words on the topic of “Umwelt," which honestly make me sound like an environmentalist. But really, how can you not be? The natural world is such a complex and amazing creation that anyone who takes a close look at it can't help but be amazed. This post inspired by XKCD, and produced by Sailor Jerry’s, Nero’s Scorpions, and an evening off.
Imagine the snake: a long, limpid line of slithering, slinking scales sliding sideways upon the greasy green grass. Not just the narrow fellow in the grass, he of Dickinson fame, no, he is more. This narrow fellow sees in infrared. Heat excites him. It is not the resplendent red of the rose, nor the genial green of grass that he seeks. He seeks the vibrant violet of miniscule mammals, scurrying softly beneath burrows of empirical earth. Such heat is life, such life is heat, and before the rodent knows, the violence of the voracious consumes the vole. This is the world of the snake.
But imagine instead the bee. A bumbling insect, aerodynamically impossible, gathering the nectar that feeds, and unintentionally spreading life beyond the miniscule scope of its finite and squishy mind. Beneath the hard and fuzzy carapace, the bee thinks of nothing beyond the hive, beyond the nectar, beyond the instinctual urge to visit that radiant, resplendent rose. Its sweet seductive scent is a siren’s song, a story of succulent sips and a tale of tantalizing tastes. In goes the bee, open go the petals, sticky goes the pollen, and life begins again, just as the bee visits another flower.
The flower remains. A rose: romantic to the root but with thorns to the thick of it. To a rose, there are no wonders of the world; there is only light. Light is life, water is wealth, and soil is sustenance. To draw up the very essence of life from the simple soil is no minor miracle. It is a daily dose of a delectable, delirious diet. From what great spring do such things come? Simple spikes of satisfaction add to the sharp spikes already present on the pointy plant. Only one thing remains: reproduction. But that is not the purview of the plant, but more the business of the bees. The potent pollen that permeates is a sneaky solution to the rigors of reproduction. With a lucent, liquid lure, bribe the bee to pass the pollen to some other rose, another in the chain, and life begins anew.
Shying away from the snake and ignoring the bee, imagine the rabbit. Its life is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of loud noises. Fear of the snap of the twig, of the thump outside its sight, of the breath of another creature nearby. The slightest sound sends sacrilegious shivers showering through its spine and provokes the sensible scamper away from the sound. Disturbing the resplendent rose, or adding atrophy to the aerodynamic aerial attack of the busy bee ‘gainst the earthbound ethereal energy of scent, matters not to the rabbit. It must run. Must hide. Must survive. It barely has claws and teeth, never mind fangs or talons, and every hollow log and divot in the turf is its hiding place. The roots of a tree are a roost, the curvaceous carvings of a shallow stream are a sanctuary. From hiding place to hiding place the rabbit darts, to get to its mate, to its family, to produce many litters of many more. It runs to survive.
High above the rest, imagine the bird. This is not just a bird; it is a patriarch of proud parti-colored plumage, magnificent and majestic in the lingering light of the setting sun. Bugs buzz in abundance, food and fuel between berries, and another easy escapade in seeking sustenance. Aware in the air, the starling stares down at the brouhaha below and wings westward, finding the Hymenoptera hilarious, though terribly tasty, laughing at the lagomorph and snickering at the serpent. The sky is silence and sanctuary, starvation and supply. It is never empty but always the domain of winged warriors who take trinkets and reap rich bounties of berries, bees, and snatch sustenance from the jaded jaws of the deplorable dirt.
And imagine I, imagine me, the human, the lord of all it surveys. I am me: the cantankerous creature, likely limited in its omniscient observation of my natural neighbors, overlooking it all because I am the highest order of creature, or so goes the high lie I tell myself. Barely bothered am I by the bright-burning bird, that particular pest of Idaho’s ignominious expanses of willy-nilly wheat. I deem them a pest, and ignoble invasion, because I was told that they were: several species of wicked weeds, belligerent birds, and malignant mussels bear the burden of such turbulent titles. But I am human, delineated to dominate and denominate fowl and flower, and their crime of unbelonging is a song of limitation and eradication. It is our fault they are alive, our fault they thrive in places and spaces where they do not belong, not for long. And it is we who bear the weight, the common sense to exterminate, and undo the damage that careless opinion has done to our dominion.
Imagine me as I look upon the pest, and more, not just the bird but all the rest. For the sake of the snake I write these lines. For the chance that the habits of the rabbits may yet trip a tender nerve or serve to remind the lords of crimson chords that the life they tend is not their own, I will write always of the bright lights that feed the need of the stationary plant that can’t fight against us nor protect itself when in need, nor call upon the bee to be the knight nor squire nor seed that it needs. And when we soar above in love and care for the world that we share, and have heard, like the bird, the calls of all those below us, pray that these things are signs we do not ignore, nor make us snore, that we ward what the Lord has given us. We are the architects, meant to mediate the effects, meant to ward and protect those lesser than us from the aggressor that is us.
The Lord giveth. The Lord commandeth us to have dominion, and ‘tis my opinion that when He says replenish He means to keep it full. If not, the Lord taketh away, and then what is it we own? A shell… ideas… a void… a clone? Making something out of little is hard, indeed. Making something out of nothing is harder, given not a scrap of matter nor a seed (and of a seed there is ever a need.) But even as easy it is, we must not make nothing out of something.
Burning, shining, a differential, uncertain potential are we. Let us become it, you and me. And if this is true, then forever we shall be: three in one, and one, and two, and an infinity, and three.