My Theory

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  Their ride on the food chain could easily have been replaced by some other, equally tasty object.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.

Was she?

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. 

Edit, Please

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.

Spoiled For Choice - Spoiled Choices

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.


16 responses to “My Theory

  1. So were humans created while she was asleep or awake? I think asleep.

  2. I love your theory!

    We had a pet giant millipede. Pedey was the sweetest kindest soul. He gently tapped the hands of whoever wanted to hold him and more often then not chose to stay on my son’s hand because it was the hand he knew.
    He picked up pieces of orange in several pairs of his front legs and daintily ate them. We could tell it was a real treat.
    He was with us for 6 years.

  3. That is a wonderful theory — I feel the same as you about bugs and creepy crawlies, so I would like to think that they were snuck in there by some mischievous “helpers”.

  4. I could believe this theory… : )

    Looking at butterflies close up (ignoring their wings) they look quite scary.. perhaps Mother Nature tried to rectify her mistake by adding beautiful wings to as many insects as possible, but didn’t have time to do them all.

  5. And think of the combinations that didn’t make it off the assembly line. Mantids with feathers or a petals on a caterpillar. The colors are amazing and seemingly overdone sometimes given they are so bite sized. It becomes difficult to hide when you are metallic blue with stripes.

  6. Loved this. Enjoyed your take on Mother Nature. Enjhoyed “seeing” her this way…hadn’t thought of it…and I love this line: “Petals fell from her hair as her head drooped; her pastels faded…and she slept.”

  7. Barbara Rodgers

    “And so the entire natural world passed by, a seemingly endless cornucopia of ideas, thoughts and whirling imaginations to be observed and balanced.” I truly enjoyed the metaphoric words you used to give such a vivid picture of the workings of Mother Nature… Excellent essay!

  8. I met and photographed a swarm of bees this past weekend and was amazed at the reality of them – nothing at all like the horrors I’ve seen in newspapers or on television.

    Strangely, I wrote elsewhere that they seemed happy. How can bees communicate happiness? I don’t know. But they clearly were – perhaps they were telling one another tales of their creative Mother.

  9. Flamingo Dancer – I believe Someone Else was responsible for humanity. Mother Nature probably did a spit-take when she saw the blueprints, however.

    Lauri – I remember holding a GM at a Bug Fair at the Natural History Museum. A defenseless fellow, but…really? Regular size or giant – make your choice!

    Laurie – right? I’m sure some helpers were given their walking papers when all was said and done.

    stevebetz – thanks! I must have come up with this theory DECADES ago.

    M – absolutely. The poor lady was rushing about, painting, dusting, forgetting completely about the permenance of such things – just hoping to make things right as soon as possible.

    dancingbearfromvox – there must have been stacks of discarded plans, crossed-off diagrams, unused fractions…she was so concerned that things would be made right. But maybe she could have used some more feathers here or there?

    oh – that’s the image I’ve had…always. Creation and decoration is hard work!

    Barbara Rodgers – thank you. Maybe it would have fun, being one of her helpers, I wonder what sort of ideas we would have come up with?

    shoreacres – bees do indeed communicate! They tell each other of an especially luscious blossom, etc. Though I fear them, I watch them too – visiting and re-visiting a bloom, criss-crossing in flight with their comrades…Mother Nature must have been on her toes when she came up with them.

  10. I think you caught Mother Nature sleeping…..good find. Although I think that whoever thought up insects must have been related to one, the phrase “a face only a mother could love” comes to mind.

  11. 🙂

    I don’t know what else to say. Your stories make me happy. Its like being little and being told the most wonderful story ever, and you want it to never end.

  12. I love the caption on your jackalope 🙂
    Insects are certainly marvelous creatures, butterflies especially. Though each one is a wonder, their variety and the mindset of their maker absolutely boggles the mind.

  13. Very enjoyable tale, but as one who finds endless fascination in the insect kingdom the theory doesn’t quite work for me! From the miraculous diversity of spiders’ webs and their varied techniques for hunting to the bright and glittering jewels of tiny beetles, from the extraordinary notion of a 17-year underground life cycle for certain cicadas to water beetles diving below and towing their very own bubble of oxygen, there is a minor, but miraculous, world beyond the notion of the ‘creepy crawly’! There are vast riches about insects.

    I’m reminded of Ellen Meloy’s take on the natural world, and perhaps Mother Nature herself: “Perception itself is the embrace.”

  14. Oh I do love your writing! I am so glad that Cindy sent me your way! ~ Lynda

  15. I still want there to be a jackalope:) Lovely post.

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