Thursday, October 14, 2004

Hiding in plain sight -- Part 2

See below a photo from the wild acres around Tom's new house: a leaf that looks like an insect, and an insect that looks like a leaf.

The spots on the leaf, of course, are a fluke, two pits of insect damage or disease that just happen to look like eyes. It's like seeing pyramids in NASA photographs of Mars, dinosaur footprints in randomly eroded Texas sandstones, or the face of the Virgin on a water-stained wall.

The moth is identical to others of its species, a neatly camouflaged product of natural selection, one of countless examples of cryptic coloration and mimicry in nature.

The pair are a nice metaphor for two sorts of people: those who look for meaning in miracles and prodigies; and those who anchor their search for significance in the steady creative power of natural law.