Thursday 29 January 2009

Tonight I Hunger

Tonight I look at this picture and think that there could be nothing more exquisite than that beetle. It lives, along with myriad upon myriad of other fascinating things, in something called the Tree of Life Web Project.

Except that of course, it doesn't. So far tonight I've watched a couple of short clips; a swan eating grass, a malaria sporozoite inside a human liver cell... As I watched that swan eat and move there was a familiar ache in my heart that is rooted in my now normalised disconnection from nature. "Really? So that's how a swan moves?" I'd forgotten.

The website is amazing, and I am grateful for people doing that kind of work so that I can have the opportunity to immerse myself in it, and I look forward to sharing it with Safiya tomorrow. But it is bittersweet, isn't it? Because the beetle isn't really there.

Safiya asked the other day if reptiles have belly buttons. We've talked about it together, she's had some hypotheses (including umbilical cords with pointy ends to get through the shell to the embryo), she's talked about it with someone else (who is an obstetrician), and we've mentioned getting books out from the library or looking it up on the web.

Just now it occurred to me how ridiculous and sad it is that my first thought was not:

"Why don't we check out a couple of reptiles?"


Anonymous said...

That reminds me of when i asked you if dogs have belly buttons when I got Ekko :)

Things Hand Made said...

I couldn't see the picture but I love the story.

Marnie said...

Hi anon - maybe only Ekko doesn't :-)

hey - i think i've got the picture fixed? thanks for pointing that out, Joanna!

Anonymous said...

i had her belly button removed...i think that's what it was.