Monday, June 28, 2010

It's discouraging to start to summit a molehill only to find halfway up that you are actually on a mountain, and the ground and the top are equally far away and hostile. I'm not sure what business molehills have, hiding their mountains until it's too late to find somewhere safer, but there should have been a warning. A sign or an angry rhinoceros or 30 feet of razor wire. Something. Because now I'm stuck.

I think about those photos of insects covered in dew, sleeping and jeweled, turning back into plain old insects once they wake up and move, and how few who hadn't seen them transformed and sparkling would ever believe that they could be so beautiful. And the bowerbirds of Australia and New Guinea, amassing collections of beetle shells and flowers and fruit and arranging them carefully for hours, hoping that their combination of colors and objects is the right one. That one hypothetical golden frog left behind on the riverbanks of Panama, waving to no one at all. About how most of nature centers around the fact that almost no one gets to have what they want, but are still driven to try for it.

If I were smarter, I'd bring mountaineering gear with me whenever I left the house, ready to encounter frozen summits and hostile conditions around every corner, accepting that almost all surprises are unpleasant ones, that almost none of them come with warning signs or tiger pits or guards with machine guns. If I were smarter, I would have learned my lesson by now.

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