Thursday, September 30, 2010

In some parts of the world, when a sunshower is happening, they say that there's a funfair in hell. Other places, it means that a witch is making butter or brushing her hair. Sometimes any number of different animals are getting married, or else the poor are, or perhaps a widow. The devil figures into it all pretty often as well. I find it interesting that an event that so often leads to a rainbow is mostly associated with something scary, how when given circumstances we can't explain our first instinct is to call it sinister. Perhaps that makes the eventual rainbow a more pleasant surprise.

I think sometimes about how shopworn these paths can get, how well-trampled even when covered with fresh leaves or baby ferns. How even the mantis shrimp must get tired sometimes of looking through its own complicated eyes in the same simple burrows.

I keep thinking that there are other lessons to learn from those crustaceans, something aside from seeing forward through time and mating for life. Something more about playing to our strengths, about ensuring that even if our strikes are less than direct our aftershocks will still communicate a point. About hiding in plain sight like that spider who looks like an ant carrying another ant.

Maybe the thing to learn from the mantis shrimp is somewhere in the sonoluminescence, in using sound in water to make light, creating a sinister impact to make our rainbows more pleasantly surprising. In the mantis it takes complicated instruments to notice their light, of course, but it takes five shrimp end to end to make one of me, so it could be slightly less complicated to make heat and light visible to the naked eye. If heat and light were the ultimate goal, no matter how they might dry the leaves and wilt the ferns.

Maybe our sunshowers aren't the worst thing about us.

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