Upon Learning About Tardigrades From Wikipedia
By Michelle Menting
Tardigrades are tiny, water-dwelling animals originally named kleiner Wasserbär,
meaning 'little water bear' in German. In Italian, tardigrada means "slow walker."
The name water bear comes from the way they walk, reminiscent of a bear's
If we ate by sucking, preying on juice of moss, skin shake
of algae; if we pierced cell walls with our stylets—with foregut,
hindgut, everything embraced, bringing new meaning to feeling
with your gut, going by your gut, gut as instinct; if we could hug
the litter of lichen, cling to swamp lily petals, take a free ride
from the gills of mussels, as if sitting in our own airstream trailers;
if we experienced ourselves as ourselves: dining on parasites
while being parasitic. What if we were nothing more than layers
of dust with heartbeats? It's true: the idea of invisibility
can make my own skin crawl, but they float, their lives aquatic,
they float. Blow them up. Take micro to macro and see their forms
with rolls: water bear, moss piglet, puddle manatee. Almost jolly.
But they suck. They cannibalize. They go for the extreme: once
they were found on heaps of dung balls on glaciers, on frozen clumps
of vegetal innards. Everywhere, everywhere absorbing. Absorbing
the universe in millions upon millions of eight tiny segments.
Let's find them. Find them to better understand the guts of the bizarre.