Sunday, 31 August 2008
Camera critters: the brooch
When I saw this bug near the bank of the river in Fournes village, I was confounded as to how something so shiny and beautifully coloured could turn out to be a creepy crawler living in the dirt. It reminds me of something which I read in my all-time favorite novel: Small Island, by Andrea Levy, one of the few books I have taken the time to read twice.
Here is the excerpt from the book, narrating a similar find to my glistening creepy crawler, in the voice of one of the main characters, Gilbert, of Jamaican origin:
"But this old RAF volunteer had seen it all before, during the war. I was looking down, unlike them big-eyed newcomer boys. I just arrive back in England and there on the pavement before me I spy a brooch. What a piece of good fortune, what a little bit of luck. Lying lost, this precious oval jewel shimmered the radiant iridescent green of a humming-bird caught by the sun. My aunt Corinne would have raised her hands to the heavens to call it a sign.
Now these were the thoughts that passed through my head in the three steps it took me to reach that brooch. One: perhaps it fall from a young woman's coat. Cha, so my blessing was another's misfortune. Two: it was an old woman that lost it from her purse; maybe the police station was the proper place to take it. And three: Hortense - this deep-green brooch would look so pretty on her. I conjured up an image in me mind. See me take the sparkling brooch to pin it to her dress, near her neck, against her smooth nut-brown skin. And look, see her touch the pin then tilt her head to charm a smile on me.
So all this rumination is taking place as I move closer. I was about to bend my knee so I could reach the brooch when hear this ... it flew away. Black flecks suddenly pitting the air. That jewel was no more than a cluster of flies caught by the light, the radiant iridescent green the movement of their squabbling backs. My eyes no longer believed what they saw. For after the host of flies flew they left me with just the small piece of brown dog's shit they had all gathered on. Was this a sign? Maybe. For one of the big-eyed newcomer boys walk straight along and step right in the muck."