Look at that cute Acanthostega!
Slightly surly, maybe it’s early in the morning.
He has just grown some limbs, and is fairly unsure what to begin with them.
With those beady eyes, he is looking around, for sense, meaning and purpose…
Then, little creature, you have come to the right place. You are documented by humans as having lived 365 million years ago. Because they don’t know any better. Bless them. They have invented this clever isotope dating method, and the more intricate and sophisticated, the more reliable its readings must be, right? What if the creator just made him extinct, 365 nanoseconds ago? He also created eternity in an instant…
That tail was wiggly and bendy and fine to propel him along. Now he suddenly grew these webbed little fingers, or knuckles, no idea where they came from. That clever salesman who introduced himself as “Evo Lution” sold him these, after convincing him that they were all the rage: just look at that Tiktaalik! And he kept fabulating about going on land, crawling, eventually walking on hind legs, upright with your shoulders back. Lost him there entirely. But yes, I’ll have two pairs, if you’ll let me in peace. And now what, overnight I’ve grown these, and you didn’t explain a thing other than fancy prophecies of glory. How about a manual? Pedual?
He will have to re-learn swimming with these. ‹Oh I know,› he thinks ‹I’m a bridge animal. Surely I am an important intermediary step from fish-like to, what did that chap Evo say? Am-fibian? Landanimal? Now I just need to figure out what they’re up to. Up out of. Land, what is that? How do you make it? Or does it make itself? No surely it needs to come from somewhere. Maybe it’s a bit like the seabed. Yes I’ve been down there, rummaging for juicy worms and such. I’ll call myself Gunter the Landanimal now. Yes it’s aspirational, heck yes! I got to figure this out!›
‹Sole hope, he had said. Or soul hope? What are soles anyway? The Ichtyostega is way above you, and over you! You want to lose out? Keep wriggling around, with no backbone? Evo was the first salesperson Gunter encountered, who lured by insults. But he had also been the first one Gunter ever met, so maybe that’s the way they do it. Gunter sternly ignores the glances he receives from his prehistoric contemporaries. They look like they equally bought into the schemes of this Evo guy. He’d like to talk to them, share the burden, but they seem to be caught each in their own, individual embarrassment.
Gunter has something to say – maybe these new limbs extended his spirit outward as well: deep, murky murmurings of unfathomable relevance, half-baked convictions about “eternity” and meaning, moonlit insights into silver-tongued seas that tell, without cease, to however has ears to hear, truths as deep as anyone can bear. Untweetable, the twitchy sparrow of the day does not sing of such things, the merle may, as it beholds the liquid silver of the half moon, if you find leisure and muse to listen with intent.
He has already become a living fossil, a witness from an age past. No time passes when you’re deceased. Now there are sharks and lethal dragnets annihilating swathes of his familiar seabed in a single sweep. And now he is extinct, just a quirky memory in a biology text book.
“I may be small and insignificant”, thinks little Gunter as he waddles clumsily through the unknown jungle, “but I do not forget my creator’s instructions, to follow his path to life.” A little sun ray follows the Acanthostega as it waddles on.
► Fabric·of·Life ◄