This morning, when I stepped outside to hang the hummingbird feeders, I felt like I was stepping into a sauna. The thermometer read only 74, but I think the humidity must have doubled that number. Once again, I sensed that drowning must feel a little like breathing in impossibly high humidity. I don’t plan on comparing the two sensations.
As I type this (after I’ve recorded quite a bit of the dream from which I awoke this morning and much, much more), I stare out the window. I watch a daddy long-legs spider (which, I understand, is not really a spider) slowly make its way half way up the glass. Its long legs flail about as if it is dancing or conducting a symphony, then it stops. Perhaps it is resting. Suddenly, it slides down to the window sill. Almost immediately, it tries again. It reaches roughly the same spot on the window and then, whoosh!, right back down to the point from which it started.
The creature is quite close to me, but clouds hide the sun and filter much of its light, so my view is not as sharp as it might be. If I had a magnifying glass, I might be able to make out the details of the little beast’s body but, alas (did you see that, Chuck?), I don’t have one handy. As I sit and stare at the cylindrical body from which multiple very long legs protrude, I think how little I know of the animal kingdom, especially insects and their ilk. How does this one eat? Where is its mouth? Why do I only see these things after they are full-developed and quite large (a good 31⁄2 inches across)? Do the younger, smaller, versions of this big daddy spend their time out of view, hiding from predators? Do they remain out of sight until they reach adulthood? And do these fully-developed monsters have to worry about predators? (Yeah. I, too, doubt that spiders or whatever they are “worry.”)
Humans think we rule the world. We don’t. Most of us are not even particularly good observers of the world around us. Even when we see the marvels of nature before us, we’re not sufficiently curious to find out what we’re looking at. My interest in the “spider” is superficial. It’s insufficient to merit the effort it would take to go find my camera, take a close-up photo, compare the image to other images and, once a match is found, read and absorb what someone else wrote about it. I shouldn’t attribute my superficiality to the entire human race. But I do. As a species, we’re arrogant. We believe, in a sense, the world owes us a living.
There are days I’d rather be a giant sequoia, just so I could live a very, very long time and experience changes to our planet. This is not one of them. Even if it were, I would realize soon after wishing it that redwood trees probably don’t understand the planet nor its experiences of change particularly well. Okay, so I’d rather be a sentient, extremely intelligent giant sequoia capable of critical thinking. This tree would need a brain, I think, and eyes. It might need to be mobile, too, so it could watch the eons unfold in multiple places. And it would need the capacity to communicate with all other creatures, so it could better understand what’s going on around it. Fluency in the languages of roughly two hundred specie of squirrels would be required [that’s the number of squirrel species, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)]. And that’s just a small part of the language requirements necessary in order for this tree to truly understand the world. There’s so much more for this tree to know before it can truly understand the world around it.
Crap, it would take thousands of years for GS (that’s the name giant sequoia goes by) to fully absorb all it needs to know. And just about the time GS is able to sort out all he knows about Earth, along comes 45, the world’s most sinister and stupid human. And 45 advocates for open-carry of chain saws. “Make my dominion great again,” the imbecile shouts, as he swings his chain saw from side to side and howls with laughter. “The only way to stop a bad tree in the way of a developer is with a good guy with a chain saw,” he blubbers as he signs the “Clear-Cut-America Act of 2018.”
Maybe there’s no point in wishing to be another species. All species are under attack. Even our own. I’ve circled the wagons this morning, haven’t I?