Antics

More than the persistence and ingenuity of the tiny beings, he admired their dedication. How absolutely anything that came their way – waft of air, odd shaped stone, a dried seed, several heaps of dust, the changes in the angle of the sun, fleas on a dog, color of the evening sky, frogs’ legs, soap bubbles, the tide, winter moonlight, the smell of damp – was put to use as a sign; to be squinted at, turned up-side-down, poked, measured, talked about, argued over, explained, compared, theorised, pictured and squeezed until it ceased to be the odd single mysterious and alien stone, seed, stick thing that it was, impinging on their bodies and invading the sky of their miniscule world, but became instead a minute curved patch on the surface they called the Global Picture of the universe. By means of an uncounted multitude of these measurings, countings, and arguings they had joined up the signs of their world into a great curved diagram, an intricate and ingenious map, so complicated that it was necessary for millions of the creatures to be engaged constantly drawing and re-drawing it. One day, they said, the diagram will be finished, the curve joined up, the full Global Picture of all that can be, is, and was in the world will be revealed. But some of the tiny beings knew otherwise; they knew that drawing the world changed it; no matter how hard they measured, their diagram would never include itself.

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