Saturday, July 27, 2013

how to make a statue

Step 1. Become a blank slate.

Step 2. Find junk in your house and put it on.

Step 3. Paint everything grey.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

flea circus

When life gives you fleas, you can freak out, or you can make a flea circus.

This humid hot weather that hasn't let up in weeks caused an outbreak in my house. Immediately I went to the first option. When the flea drops, baths and vacuuming didn't seem to be working, I began pathologically testing extermination methods on fleas I caught in jars. Then, they became interesting. And I started doing research. And I came upon flea circuses. Which are amazing. Which of course I had to try.

It is delicate and tricky work. Fleas must be caught and collared with thin wire, just snug enough to not harm or impede them, not loose enough to allow them to escape. I had a lot of mishaps trying to get this just right.

The few that came out right deserved names. I was pretty invested in Boris, Caesar, Greg, and Genevieve.

Then I tried hitching them up to things.

This mini-cooper was too heavy so I tried just wheels. A chariot, in historical flea circus lingo.

That was a little easier. But I soon realized my small troupe was indeed dying off from the poison I'd been treating them with. And here came a strange turn of emotion- in less than a day I went from wishing cruel painful deaths upon all of them, to (sort of) not wanting them to die at all.

I hurriedly tried some other acts I'd read about, including ball rolling and tight rope walking.

But my fleas were clearly weak. 

I tried to keep them in jars,

but alas, everyone died.

I am grateful that my house and animals are much more comfortable. And for the reminder that relentless curiosity can turn even the most intense hatred and loathing into compassion and appreciation. 

Anybody got any fleas?

Monday, July 15, 2013

we are all islands

As we speed east along the chain, each occasional island looks perfectly inlaid into the blue enamel of the sea below, like a piece in a sacred mosaic. Yet each seems to float. It's hard to fully comprehend that these are just the tips of an enormous mountain range, grown from a seafloor thousands of feet below. Anne Morrow Lindbergh responded to the idea that no one is an island by saying, "I feel we are all islands- in a common sea." That is an appealing refinement of the idea, but there is something else deeper. Perhaps we only seem like islands because all our shared underpinnings, which have brought us up and hold us into the sunlight, lie unseen below the surface. Now and then we think we might detect submerged connections by a whiff of something familiar, by an upwelling of memory or empathy or the urge to show kindness to another creature, like a visible pattern of ripples at the surface caused by something lying far below. The rock-hard ties to all these other islands-- human and nonhuman, current and past-- lie out of sight, deep in time, massively holding together all our fragile little islands, yet barely recognized and seldom acknowledged. What a different view of life we would have if we mapped our islands not by their perimeter as seen from the surface, but by their profile and foundation, showing always the roots and connections within the shared mountain chain. Could we not recognize ourselves as part of the same chain of life, originated from the same hot spot? Are we not little kindred isles adrift a sea of time, on a conveyor of space? We are born. We have our adventures. And we are sucked back in, to be reintegrated, recast in the continuing saga of our singular island home afloat the oceanic universe. 

-Carl Safina, Eye of the Albatross