Sunday, June 13, 2010
It was so hot and sticky at 6 this morning that I worked up a sweat just walking in the shade. Good weather for things that sting and buzz, not so good for charging along the trail, so I decided to take it easy and hang out by the creek. The water was flowing slow and clear, and I could see the crawdads scuttering between the rocks. There's something profoundly strange about crawdads--mostly due, I think, to that weird, sidelong way they move. They always look like bits of trash tumbling along the creek bed until they are suddenly seized with intention and dive under a sheltering stone. They seem to inhabit a special category somewhere between living things and inanimate objects. They disturb me, because if there's one spiritual duty I really believe in, it's endeavoring to see myself in all of nature, and I cannot see myself in the crawdad. I'm pretty sure crawdads can't see themselves in me either, but I have enough human arrogance to think they don't have the same spiritual obligations I do. I don't want to consider the other possibility. I don't mind if the deer or the crows contemplate their kinship with me, but I don't want those arthropods having deep thoughts. (See "Sandkings.") I left the crawdads to their business and ambled back up the path, where I met a barn owl on his way to bed. He perched in a tall poplar and studied me with a doubtful look.