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.


Alyssa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alyssa said...

How strange! I have an essay going right now that is nominally about crawdads (though actually about...other things). Do you know much about their cultivation and habits?

I have to admit that my primary thought when looking at a crawfish is--yum! But I am fond of them, in general, in spite of my omnivorousness. They have a certain perkiness. Snap, snap!

[sorry about the deletion, tried to edit the above, which used to read "You have a certain perkiness. Snap, Snap! An entirely different kind of comment and not at all what I meant, lol.]

ScentScelf said...

Crayfish were the creatures we said we hoped to find but never knew what to do with because it was a bit unthinkable to actually act out the thing we were supposed to do. So we poked around, my friend and me, and knew which people we could tell yes, we found some to, and to whom we would just say "no luck."

We didn't assign them our spiritual obligations, either, but we did visit ours upon them. :)

La Bonne Vivante said...

check out the moon tarot card--there, the crawdads crawling out of the ocean represent the dark horrific void that lies at the heart of nature. truly chilling. I wrote about it a little once: