[ToC]

 

FORMAL PLEASURES

Catherine Gonick

 

 

 

The urgent amoeba, all movement, is thus all emotion, notes French
biologist Savy. Formless, but ever changing form to hunt, this single-celled,
brainless creature is indeed a marvel, yet consider a bird's heart racing
like a hard little light through the dark-ribbed box of its body, all neurons
firing love for perfect form; geese taking sides in a flock, rising in a mirror
pattern as if united by their love; the curlew flung five thousand miles
each half year on the strength of one sprung emotion. These lovers of form
appear to purpose more than merely catching the next paramecium. Consider          
also the elegantly spiraling form of the ameoba's wished-for dinner, shifting
its single-celled, slipper-shaped body into reverse, then forward to avoid
the ameoba’s pursuing false foot, about to morph into a real mouth.


 

__

I’ve long been fascinated with the idea that life is form in visible motion, and especially with animals that encompass all their life functions within a single, mobile cell. To a paramecium, the shape-shifting ameoba might seem straight out of a horror movie; yet even more dangerous are the [didinia], pleasantly barrel-shaped predators who wish to eat only paramecia.