Polyploidy -- John Olson

I caught a bird which made a ball of itself, a mincemeat with wings. Which is what we all are. I mean the journalistic we. The we of the ocean. The beings that crawled out of the ocean. Those beings we once were. Those beings with mantles and shells. Those beings with bony scales and dermal armor. Those beings with large bony heads and heavy bony plates. And they lived by straining their food out of the bottom mud. And they thought better of it. Better of water. Water with salt in it. And they grew lungs and nostrils and muscular fins and crawled out. And they developed eggs and scales and moved away from the water. So that they could not go back. And many hurried to do this. Others held back and hid among rocks. Or ferns. And their eyes became globes of jelly. With a slit. Or a black dot. That could see the world. That could let the world in. A world they meant to live in. And eat its leaves. And catch its insects. And later they grew feet and hands. And their brains weighed as much as a pound. And contained eternity. And they learned to catch birds and cage them and draw them and put them on plates. Cool China plates with temples and ponds and wise old men. Blue temples and pink blossoms. And they had ways of being in the world that differed from worms and dragonflies. They had a pair of eyes that were set in the head. Eyes in a bowl of bone. So that they not only ate the world but began to think about it as well. So that thinking and eating were alike in many ways. So that chewing and dreaming were called rumination. These beings could chew and ruminate on the world's images in nourshing reverie. Or flee it in great agitation and hide among convictions and cleavage. In an endeavor to see it better. To see it more fiercely than they had before. When they were fleeing it. Or dreaming about it. And they began to make ingots of its ores. And dig into hills. And dig into the sides of mountains. To look for gold and diamonds. To look for tin and molybdenum. And the darkness of the mines became the darkness of the mind. And the mine was illumined by lamp and the mind was illumined by thought. And the ores smelled of earth. And the diamonds smelled of death. There was no repose among the diamonds. So that there were many people that scorned the ravishment of these things. They liked it better as creatures of the surface. Where the diamonds that glittered there glittered on the surface of lakes and rivers. And this was an advantage to some and a matter of little concern to others. So that there were many ways to be in the world and experience the world. So some became active fliers and lived in books where the foliage was rich and rising currents of air induced vision and massive spines.

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