Saturday, March 17, 2012

God Should Have Quit On The Fifth Day

Science has been unable to pinpoint which day of the week God created man, but for sure it was after he created salamanders, which showed up mid-afternoon of the fifth day. That was a barn-burner of a day for God, and he was justifiably proud, and probably went a little manic there for a while until he got some mud and made a man out of it, and after that he had to rest up. The book says "rest up," but really, he probably realized he needed to put the brakes on and think about what he'd done, because he'd totally overshot. It happens. Creative types frequently come up with their masterpiece early on and then spend the rest of their lives trying to replicate their success, and it never works.

"Day" is probably not meant to be taken literally, because God is more poetic than that, and bigger in general, with much longer days and a much greater imagination than us little mud-cakes he slapped out on the sixth day. So the salamander sort of worked things out on his own, with one great idea after another. There he was in the ocean, where things are constantly trying to make a snack out of him, and so he got closer and closer to shore, rolling his eyes around in alarm, until at one point there they were--his eyes--right on top of his head. Whoa! Genius. He could stay underwater where the oxygen was, and still see everything above the water. Like the land. Which, as far as he could see, contained nothing that wanted to snack on him. At that point there wasn't much more to do but fiddle with the flippers and do some push-ups and before you knew it, the first salamander hitched up on shore, where he grew the biggest and nicest smile anyone ever had before or since, and why not? He'd gotten everything just right. Lo, he was very good. And so he took the entire kit, handsome smile and all, right through to modern times, with barely an adjustment.

It might seem far-fetched about the eyes rolling around on the face, but it happens. Even today, flatfishes start out swimming sideways like regular fish with eyes on either side, and then one of their eyes migrates around to join the one on the other side, and then they drift to the bottom of the sea and blend in, with their eyes on top checking things out. It isn't the Mozart Requiem but it's still pretty cool. The eyes never look quite even, but it's the best they can do, having traveled around the side of the fish. And so you see this sort of thing in Nature all the time: halibut. Flounder. Shannen Doherty.

When God came up with the man, he told him to have dominion over every living thing, which was a big mistake, if you'll pardon my saying so. Sure, you're tired, you've worked hard, and it's tempting to just tell the kids to take care of everything, but that's how you get mud tracked in the house and candy for dinner and the credit card gets run up and all the forests turn to desert and someone cranks the heat up to high so they can sit around in their underwear all winter. It's not responsible. It's not all bad, but you're going to run through a hundred years of oligarchs and Republicans for every Mozart that shows up.

I have the good fortune to know people who do know their proper place in the world, and that place is chest-deep in a cold bog in February. Yes, the regional government Metro has sent out its intrepid Frog Warriors again this year to get a rough count of amphibian egg masses, so we can see if we've done a good job restoring wetlands to what God had in mind in the first place. It's an honor and a privilege to bear witness to the single greatest feat any critter has ever accomplished, something humans couldn't do in their wildest dreams: making new salamanders. No wonder they're still smiling.

72 comments:

  1. That's really "getting back to your roots."

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    1. I only wish those were my roots. I've looked into it, and I have humans in my ancestry.

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  2. I wonder where Isaac Newton fits in all this...
    Personally, I never did see the point of leaving a snug bed to stand, hip-deep, in freezing cold water at that ungodly hour before dawn in hope of having a fish commit suicide.Pescicide?

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    1. I had a job in a toxicology lab once testing for the effects of pescicides. Oh wait...

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  3. I salute their commitment (or maybe they SHOULD be commited) to the salamander.

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    1. We can be commitable and still be laudable.

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  4. Happy St Paddy's Day to ya, and a bit of the luck o' the Irish...

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    1. OH! Thanks for reminding me to wear green tonight!

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  5. The oligarchs and Republicans were created by Satan at a moment when God wasn't looking.

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    1. Also, the guy who invented leaf blowers.

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    2. And child proof bottles that I have to ask a child to open for me. Perhaps a salamander could do it as well.

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  6. "Frog Egg Counter". Probably better to put "Amphibian Census Worker" on the resume...

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    1. And yet, with up to 3000 eggs per blob, we're doing pretty well.

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  7. In boarding school, we called the tapioca, "frog egg pudding"

    I'm thinking that the Frog Warriors need cool t-shirt. Maybe depicting a Klingon frog with a batlif and a phaser. Or a GI Joe frog with ammo vest, helmet, and an AK-47. Or a Ninja frog . . . .

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    1. This may be a better link for that badge: http://castofcharacters.com/jewelry/badgeaemm.jpg

      (Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to do the link myself)
      Mary Ann

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  8. Salamanders and frogs are some of my favourite people.

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    1. Tippy top of my list, too, as it happens.

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  9. Ohhhh....now I can never eat tapioca again.

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    1. No! Not in early spring. Enjoy, don't eat.

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  10. Frog Egg Pudding!! LMAO! Oh, I am so using that on my boys! My hats off to the plastic pants crew--last night my eldest came home from eating at the Japanese Buffet and triumphantly announced, "I had for dinner what you always threated to feed us!"

    Frog legs.

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    1. You know, I admit I like the food, but I'm not sure Japanese can be trusted to serve you what should be served. In some cases.

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  11. I can't believe in a god who created politicians and their super pac funders. All hail to the God of the Salamanders.

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    1. Right! The One True God before he knocked off for a while.

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  12. I laughed out loud at the side by side of the fish and Shannen.

    This bodes well for the rest of the day. Thank you.

    Pearl

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    1. First time I saw a flounder, I was hauling it up on my line on an ocean-going vessel, thinking I had a monster salmon, and the crewman yanked it out of the water and splatted it on the deck, and I thought, good lord--someone stomped on my salmon.

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  13. Dominion AND Stewardship but they forget the second part as always. Salamanders are great little guys. Glad you like them. We had geckos (we called them salamanders) in our dirt cellar in the old house on the farm. My little brother could imitate them and they would talk back and forth to each other. Do real Salamanders have a voice too?

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    1. I believe Murr is actually The Voice of the Salamander (from what I've read here...)

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    2. So, what were they--geckos or salamanders? I'm confused. It's like saying "we had a little terrier, only we called it an armadillo." Most salamanders don't have much to say, because they are content. The Pacific Giant will bark on occasion, although usually when threatened, and not just at three in the morning for no damn reason at all.

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  14. Yes! I do wonder why there are not hundreds of poems written about the cute little smiles of rough skinned newts!

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    1. Get it going, sister.

      "There once was an eft from Turin
      Who had an insidious grin
      Said he, 'I'd be proud
      If you hand me that shroud
      I could stain it all over again.'"

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  15. Actually I think what god said was...Yo, man. I'm making you the caretaker here so take care of my stuff. Man, being made of mud, decided that 'take care of' meant use and abuse. And boy, is god gonna be pissed when he finally checks in to see what kind of a job man has done.

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    1. Ellen, I think He has already checked in --- and sent the Newt/Mitt/Sansabritches plague...

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    2. Or he's thinking "I'll just give them another hundred years to blow the place to smithereens and then we can start over fresh."

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  16. Ewww, someone said Newt. The one I'm thinking of is not in the same class with salamanders, no sir.

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    1. We're real sorry he's sullying that good name.

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  17. "Science has been unable to pinpoint.."
    Wash your mouth out Murr.....when have science and religion ever had anything to say to each other?

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  18. Murr and her Salamander Super Pac.

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    1. I'm always tickled when you drop in, Jer.

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  19. Wow. This is somewhat of an anniversary Brewster. I remember the first post I read of yours was about sloshing around in the swamp looking for frogs eggs so, must have been a year ago, right? Dang, another year gone by without me noticing.
    Anyway, back to salamanders and God and all. Mark Twain once commented that evolution couldn't be true as God created the monkey because he was disappointed in man.

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    1. I've written about our sloshcapades every spring since 2009. It's possible I've run out of things to say. That's never happened, but there's always a first time. Mark Twain is my hero.

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  20. Ahhh so NOW I understand that when the Oregon Republican Party offered to host a debate in Portland, all the candidates declined with the exception of NEWT who accepted saying he would be glad to come to that amphibian-friendly state - Oregon.

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    1. And I'd still be happy to stuff him under a damp log.

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  21. So will you let us know the outcome of the count, or where we can find out? You've got me curious.

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    1. No totals yet, but the Red-legged Frog and Northwestern Salamander are doing well in Portland. Yay!

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  22. "It's not all bad, but you're going to run through a hundred years of oligarchs and Republicans for every Mozart that shows up."

    HAHAHAaaaaaa..... ain't it so... HAHaaaaaaa...

    I've never known anyone who knew all this stuff... I used to wonder ... well... I still do on occasion but when I was a kid -- (preacher's kid) --- how Adam came up with all the names of everything. I used to ask my Dad... his pat answer was as was everything ... God told him ... ah

    One of my favorites was gnats! How and why would He save them and why were they named such and especially spelled that way.

    It's really interesting, isn't it. On the food chain... what eats gnats? I guess I could google but whatever it is has got to be rather small.

    tsetse flies? and how about THAT name... man

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    1. Oh too bad. My father gave much better answers. And I distinctly remember one sweaty humid D.C. summer day when I was swatting away and asked my dad what good mosquitoes were, and he said (without a moment's hesitation) "frog food." So there.

      "Gnat" comes from the same root as "gnaw."

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  23. Jeez, Murr... wish you had a like button on comments and such. Great crowd!

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    1. I'm tickled enough to have this cool reply system that just plopped into my blog one day without me even asking.

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  24. Yet Shannen Doherty's mom proved humans can, indeed, pop out the odd salamander every now and then. Imagine the hoots and roars in that delivery room, when her slippery salamander self shot out of her ma's nethers.

    Makes me wonder if some man in chest waders didn't visit Mrs. Doherty nine months previously--to "wade into her bog."

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  25. Wonderful post, Murr. Here at Malheur NWR, we have the Columbia spotted frog and are managing a little habitat to keep it happy here. And we have lots of Pacific tree frogs which, it appears, can be happy most anywhere.

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    1. Lordy yes. We almost got riveted in place trying to walk on Sauvie Island after a recent tree frog hatch. The ground looked like bubbling soup.

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  26. Ah, the timeless smile on the face of the salamander, wonder what he is thinking?

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  27. "The eyes never look quite even, but it's the best they can do, having traveled around the side of the fish. And so you see this sort of thing in Nature all the time: halibut. Flounder. Shannen Doherty."


    OMFG! I seriously gagged on my coffee while reading that! TOO FUNNY!

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    1. Her level gaze is a half-bubble off plumb.

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  28. God should have neber got a job to begin with : )

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  29. God should have neber got a job to begin with : )

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    1. Hmm. I wonder how he even applied? What do you put down for prior experience?

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    2. He talked about that Himself in one of my blog posts a while ago:

      'Troubled universe needs firm, loving God, infinite compassion, omnipotence a plus.'

      http://koshtra.blogspot.com/2006/08/visit-he-came-in-bundled-up-drowning-in.html

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  30. Are the eggs out already? I would've thought it was too cold? I'll have to check our marshes. I'm still waiting for spring to get more than a stuttering grip. Thanks for the amphibian POV. Funny.

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    1. You gots marshes? Eggs have been out for two months. Still coming. Get on down there and rah rah rah.

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  31. With politicians on both sides of the aisle, not only in the USA but all over the world, seeing how petty the can be and how to fix what isn't broken and break what they can't fix, it's comforting to know there are still people out there who are doing something important with their lives, like taking an amphibian census.
    As far as I know I don't have TOO many humans in my ancestry, but certainly enough to have sullied the gene pool.
    I'd like to join a group like yours but don't think I have the expertise. I admit to having been called, among other things, an "egg SUCKER". Does that count?
    Signed
    "Curious"

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    1. Dear Curious,

      No. Whole different thing.

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  32. I had never realized the roles of either salamanders or Shannon Doherty in the story of creation. Intriguing. Does Santorum know about this? Would he deem in blasphemy?

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    1. He must know. Having that direct line, and all.

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  33. Two things: firstly, I thought that picture was was a gecko. I cannot tell them apart.

    Secondly, it was absurd to expect one little human to have dominion over all those different species. He did not have tools. How could he have dominion over tigers and alligators and cheetas and the cold virus?

    Adam should have protested. He is worse than eve with her apple. I saw an ant in the kitchen just today, and it all Adam's fault.

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    1. To be fair, that particular salamander is the Rough-Skinned Newt, and it's not as shiny and smooth as other salamanders, so it looks just a little more lizardy. We're going to give you a pass for now, but bone up.

      Was it Adam's Ant?

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    2. It's possible I shouldn't have said "bone up."

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  34. Salamanders and flounders rock.

    The environmental commentary was spot-on. Irresponsible human dominance on earth has resulted in environmental harm -- the candy for dinner and high credit card bills you described. Time for humans to pay the bills and cook some vegetables, so to speak, by making sound decisions about the environment.

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