Friday, 14 June 2013

Things That Are - Amy Leach

I felt compelled to confess that I have stolen myself into the sun - away from Visigothic horseshoe arches and long-bearded sculptors from Lake Como and a burgeoning need to account for a history of the emotions - to consume this book. Like a glutton I have shielded it to myself and like a puritan I feel the need to offer it. Conflicts are better resolved with words - so this is as it is. I decided after reading I was not like a beaver - In the seventeenth century, his Holiness the Pope adjudged beavers to be fish. In retrospect, that was a zoologically illogical decision; but beavers were not miffed being changed into fish. They decided not to truckle to their new specification, not to be perfect fish, textbook fish; instead they became fanciful fish, the first to have furry babies, the first to breathe air and the first to build for themselves commodious conical fortresses in water. If prince Maximilian travelling up the Missouri River, had taken it in mind to recategorise them as Druids or flamingos, beavers would have become toothy Druids, or portly brown industrious flamingos. The beavers' reaction to the papal renaming highlights two of their especial qualities: their affability and their unyieldingness. They affably yield not. Probably I am more like a pea - the pea plant yearns for a lattice, so it grows tendrils - then every tendril too yearns for a lattice. Yearning draws tendrils out of the spindly green pea-shoot only to find itself elephantine. Tendril wending is swervy and conjectural; like a dancer who cannot quite hear the music. Pea tendrils are antic with inapprehension. Since there is no way for them to apprehend a lattice, the only direction to grow is yonder. But I have yet to read of salmon and radical bears.... This is a delightful, thought-provoking book - enjoy!

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