Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Shiny things make me happy

I've been reading too much rubbish today. By all accounts the world is not a shiny place on the whole and it seems that I have lost the ability to spot the sparkle, at least for the moment. So in attempt to to correct this I have recently discovered, or at least rediscovered, my passion for the smaller earth creatures that twinkle in the light. I am constantly amazed by the things that I find in drawers in the museum. Yesterday I saw a grasshopper nymph that was mimicking a tiger beetle and it was the most amazing metallic blue. There are some Mantids from Asia that are bright metallic green and look as though they have been covered with tinfoil. Some of my favourite beetles are a kind of Leaf beetle that look like little knobbly nuggets of metal. They are normally pink or blue but if they could manage a gold then they would look just like a chunk of raw gold. There are some Chafers that have managed this. One I saw yesterday was a shiny leaf green on top but it had a metallic turquoise tummy and blue feet. You wouldn't even have seen it unless you turned it upside down. Others come in rich gold or silver, or more usually, green with shining silver strips so that they look like very expensive humbugs.
The scientist in me looks at these things and decides whether things have developed as sexual or behavioural characters, camouflage or mimicry. There will always be that little voice though that just emits a breathless 'wow' and happily accepts the ignorance and just wants to glorify the now. It makes the world seem so magical in a way. Images of jungles filled with sparkling whirring insects fill my mind.
And then I think some more.
I can almost see why people are so happy to accept that there must be a god because it does just seem so unrealistic that something could have evolved to look like this. Its such an abstract concept for most people. In order to study evolution you have to look back not forwards because all we have is our short lifetime and we will never know what comes next. Its so much easier to accept the now and try to look forward when reality is asserting itself in your life every minute of every day. Because we must go on. We treat life as a linear progression from birth until death. Independent and individual. I think we forget that we are a part of some bigger interweaving and so we forget where we can find the shine.
The shine is in the small things in life. I realise that not everyone is going to discover this in a drawer of beetles but I hope that people can discover it for themselves in something they love. I don't want to accept the idea that the world is full of so much darkness that we can't find some light. Am sounding very negative today I realise, and quite hippyish because I can't really find the words to express this idea properly but its been filling my brain for the morning and its all that I could think to write about. If I had any talent I'd find some way of expressing this so people could understand. Instead you're limited to my muttered ramblings. Oh well, I figure that my audience is more than intelligent enough to sort it out for me. I guess I'm just pleased that in amongst all the negatives there are some pretty special positives as well.

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