one woodlouse, 12th December 2016

one woodlouse toddles across the carpet oblivious and unaware of me in all my relative hugeness to him, or more likely her, presumably intent on some great quest, adventure, somewhere to be, somewhere to be… if I rest my ear close enough I can probably hear her proffering, “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date….”……… a single mollusc on her fourteen legs… yes, 14!…… or seven pairs if you prefer……. how do they manage it, all those legs, not tripping over themselves……. I suppose they look at us and muse similarly, how do we manage with a mere two, one pair….. (a song line carelessly earworms “she’s got legs, she knows how to use them….) …… usually by winter sensible woodlice are huddled in large groups somewhere suitably damp, and dark of course, but here is this lone one pitter-pattering x 14 across a dry carpet through a warm room…. is she late to hibernate, or been sent out on foray only woodlice understand the reasoning for?….. is she lost or a kind of Jonathan Livingston Seagull of the woodlouse world breaking free from the pack and away from their group-think?…. although as such there’s no official collective noun for  woodlice the word “flock” ( I kid you not!) is sometimes proffered… a flock of woodlice, no not an 1980’s new wave band, that was ‘a flock of seagulls’……. imagine having 14 legs……. trousers would have to be tailor-made for starters, it would cost a fortune in shoes and you might also turn a curious head or two……. would take an age to master coordination…. but at least woodlice start life with a paltry 12, six pairs as 12 must be easier than 14… mustn’t they?………. and she’s gone, into a dark and damp somewhere I don’t doubt…….


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