Wednesday, July 07, 2004


This morning brought me a millipede, about 2 cm long, slowly making its way across our floor on a journey that looked like it would take the entire summer, and lead but to the opposite wall.

In a certain degree of affinity with that progress I looked more closely, and from above, against the light oak flooring I could clearly see the way the creature's 'thousand' legs were working; it was a revelation. The picture was much bigger than my habitually remote view of such things: amber legs, each slightly larger than a human hair in diameter, rippled smoothly in regular waves resembling all other waves-- from water to the kinds we've all seen in science class-- streaming forward along the body as the insect moved ahead, the forward pulsing waves somehow creating opposite propulsion, or so it appeared.

The thing was, that here moved a creature of very simple purpose, if 'simple' can be used so complexly, the millipede living mostly in the senses it received from its slow antennae, yet with a leg-motive pattern so complex as to be philosophically startling; not just the pattern, but the fact of it; that this complexity had evolved all on its own to serve as motive force for this 'simple' entity, that itself had had no part in the genesis or operation of the process that was carrying it along in such effortless complexion. It was all automatic, autonomic, reflexive from birth; it arose from the same vastly deep understandings (in the true sense of the word) that understand us, that power our thoughts and our bodies, our entire lives.

On the 'waves' of my own legs, I took the millipede up on a piece of paper and placed it outside among the floorless ferns, where there were no walls.

Our roots are as rich as our heavens.


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