The natural world, amazingly, is not perfect. When something alarming buzzes or crawls by, I wonder how it came to be. I wonder how it passed under Mother Nature’s gentle sight.
For instance…insects. Surely, we could have done without them. Their ride on the food chain could easily have been replaced by some other, equally tasty object. The idea of a world of tiny monsters serving no purpose save to populate menageries of grotesqeries is madness. I can only think that Mother Nature was nodding when these creatures were given leave to roam across her earthly dominions.
That is my theory. First, I must explain: I believe that Nature created her world the way Santa Claus creates toys…that is, it was not a hands-on procedure. She had helpers – I don’t know what form they took…I think that they worked in a hidden, dream-like state – who put together blueprints of future creatures and then offered up each plan for their wise Mother to accept or reject. And as there were so many drafts to go through, I imagine Mother Nature sitting by a type of conveyor belt to make the process go easier and to save her feet.
She had the ability to stop the appliance, but not to put it into reverse. If a beastie was approved, it passed by. If not, it was stamped “reject”. And if the qualities indicated on the blueprints were not to her liking, she of course could edit. Who knows, perhaps bunnies originally had antlers, and the jackalope would have been a reality.
Or perhaps she scribbled – in a slanted, elegant hand – “No horns…just long ears. Looks cuter.”
And so the entire natural world passed by, a seemingly endless cornucopia of ideas, thoughts and whirling imaginations to be observed and balanced. It must have been wearying work: and even such a loving mother as she became tired. Petals fell from her hair as her head drooped; her pastels faded…and she slept.
Time passed…and then she awoke with a start. She looked ahead, into the future, towards her accepted creations and was filled with alarm, for the sake of her pride, and for the pretty world she was decorating. She saw spiders, millipedes (whomever was responsible for the Giant Millipede got a strict talking down, I hope)…and was in despair: she was going to be remembered for that?
But there was work to be done. She looked in front of her and saw a curious object. She stopped the conveyor belt and read its description. It had large wings, two of them – as clear as glass, and as delicate as frost. Its body was slim and fragile. She read the description: “Feeds on nectar”. She liked that…such a sublime little thing should only get its strength from sweetness. But there was only one. Disgustedly, she estimated that in her sleep she must have inadvertently given thousands of spiders their place on earth. And yet there was only one…she consulted the description again…Butterfly?
Sighing, she thought briefly. Her imagination roamed and soared. Then she started to write. Pages and pages were filled with diagrams…new shapes, patterns and colors were devised, so that the single butterfly became thousands. She wanted her skies filled with color and transfigured light…besides, she was feeling a little guilty.
However, in her haste, she did not think to alter the structure of the wings themselves. So these changes in hue were quickly painted on in powders and frosts. This explains the colored dust that comes off on our fingers after we capture a butterfly: it is chiefly due to Mother Nature’s miscalulations. Beneath it all are the clear, original wings.
So whenever I flinch away from a horrible crawlie, I sense Mother Nature’s guilt…but when I see a butterfly, I see her apology, her eloquence dazzling in the sunlight.