Excerpt from Diane Ackerman’s essay “The Moon by Whale Light” from the same-titled book (1992).
“Do whales have emotions like ours? I wondered. How intelligent are they? Do they have minds of the sort that would be familiar to us?
After all, mind is such an odd predicament for matter to get into. I often marvel how something like hydrogen, the simplest atom, forged in some early chaos of the universe, could lead to us and the gorgeous fever we call consciousness.
There are little Antlion pits all around the cabin. The soil is very sandy here and perfect for building pits. There are lots of ants too, so it’s a good ecosystem for predator and prey.
I took a short video (from my phone, hence the jitter) of me simulating an ant falling into the pit with the end of a pine needle. The Antlion larva then starts throwing up sand to knock the prey further down the pit towards its jaws. It’s such a wild thing to watch.
There’s a lot to see all around, if you slow down and take the time to look.
Check out Wikipedia for more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antlion
It’s unusually quiet this morning. I’m sitting in the shade on the back porch looking at the trees. Observing. Writing. Listening. Paying attention.
The only sounds are the rustling of western grey squirrels ever-searching the leaf litter for food and the breathing of the sky through the cedar, oak and fir trees.
The fly that just discovered me is turning tight circles around my head, investigating, assessing, looking for a safe place to land while its wings beat 200 times a second.
If I could count from 1 to 1000 in 1 second, 1 beat is the time it would take me to count from 1 to 5. I’m dumbfounded thinking about this fly and its ability to maneuver in ways that nothing human made has come close to approximating.
Rather than brush it off as an annoyance to be shooed away, interrupting my writing , I will sit with it; observing, hearing, feeling, breathing.