Monday, September 5, 2011

The Insect's Mall

Sometimes, upon my observations of the natural world, I like to drop for an instance my scientific demeanor, and let the other part of me run wild. That is to say, when observing a particular creature, rather than think of its scientific names, it's genus and species and its habits and lifestyles, I would think instead of it as a small human. A sentient being. I would imaging then, what life must be like for this small person, clinging onto the branches as it were, or scurrying around in the undergrowth as if on some important business. Take a weed patch for example. There really is quite a lot going on in the weed patches. I imagine the bushes - quite small in size to a human being of course - would look like gigantic skyscrapers to the little people who inhabit this town. Of course, they would not be straight and erect like the kind of buildings we are used to, rather they would seem more intricate in design, as if a crazy artist were put in charge of the town's development as opposed to an architect, and in his abandon came up with buildings that were more unorthodox in nature. The main stem, I reasoned, would be quite like the foundation of the construct, the branches and twigs - the many levels it possessed, leaves and flowers on the other hand, were more like atriums and flashy billboards designed to house eateries and post various advertisements.

On the bottom of the weed patch, you would have debris and grass - of course - and dirt. Scattered here and there amongst the dirt were the homes of the bottom dwellers of the town. They were, I speculated, the working class of the society. Ants, scurrying about on their day to day business. Laborers and cleaners they were, creating some impressive constructs out of mounds of dirt and cleaning up the excess debris on the floor. There were beetles, too, like lumbering cabs, barreling their way through the hordes of pedestrians, and millipedes, like hundred legged buses which tended to curl up when startled by the obnoxious beetles. I used to imagine, the consternation of its passengers when something like that happened. But the undergrowth was only just a part of this amazing town. On the larger buildings and skyscrapers dwelled much more aristocratic characters. Vines hung here and there like telephone wires and in many ways they functioned as such for they allowed mobility from the foliage of one building to another. The large yellow and black grasshoppers were the bosses here, guarding the monopoly of the leaves with great jealousy, and they were only rivaled by the fat and communistic caterpillars, sitting in in their rows like an army of spiked worms, who seemed to travel in large packs, sharing whatever leaves they came upon amongst every individual members of the troop. They seemed to forget, however, in their communal lifestyle the subsequent stages of their life-cycle and the butterflies which they would eventually turn into - not unlike the supermodels of this arena - created complex aerial jousts, each vying for the most attention from such and such flower. It isn't long, however, before the sky turns gray and rain threatens to fall. The butterflies, ever jealous of their beauty, are the first to disappear. They take shelter at the first sight of rain. Wouldn't do to get those designer wings wet. The ants retreat to their burrows and the communal caterpillars scurry off to find a place which can accomodate them all. Beetles and millipedes park themselves under the eaves of tree roots. The last to disappear are the giant grasshoppers. But eventually they too retreat to their hideouts. Alas, time has also come for I to disappear, or risk being stormed upon. And with much haste, I too pack up my belongings, and promptly make my way to the nearest shelter.

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