A Majestic Dance: A Crustacean's Art

For a spectacular scene, one of such subtle delicate texture, and a flavor of silver screens, visit the nymph's lagoon in the central island of the Galapagos archipelago, the port of Ayora.

Be eloped in the sly serenade of cricked and chirp, the whistle of the leaves, fruit of mango falling on water. Although famous for its villainous nymphs (sirens that dwell in the lagoon devouring the unexpected tourist), dragonesque sea lions (that slip and pose for a picture sake), and roots that imprison and inspire visitors (able to change vibrations of the thoughtful into rhizomatic formation), the true gems of the lagoon is the dance of the silver-pawn crustaceans.

Darwin Vernedette, a young English researcher who has settled on the island and has claimed the silver-pawed crab as his muse, said: “Hilarity. Real Hilarity. As merely all that is… only a fine eye, a patient statue, and a good sense of humor can observe the magnificent dance.”

Another witness, Lokaj R., muralist and professor of painting, said: “Did you see it? Did you see it? What in the name of Krishna! Did you see that shine?”

How to witness the phenomena: Firstly, enter El Manglesito (as locals call it) with pure thoughts during low tide. Right before the mouth of the beast (the beginning of a boardwalk that surrounds the lagoon in a fashion suitable for a utopian vision), sit and face the rocks that are otherwise drowned when the tide is high… Sit and sit in absolute stillness, for not only are the crabs extremely anti-social, they also seem repulsed by movement as well, sensitive to touch or sound as gas is to fire. So, sit still, wait, and watch as one by one the sly silver-paws (which are no bigger than an index-finger nail) emerge from their holes, resume their infinite art.

And what exquisite performance! A show like watching a night sky void of clouds, of light, a nebula ignite with infinite stars. The crustaceans are no bigger than a fingernail, are blackish red in flesh, bearers of a hammer silver as lighting. They stand an inch or two away from their respective hole, and shake their silver paw to and fro, fro and to, dangling and catching the light, calling forth brothers still shy underground.

As stillness settles (as not even the pupil of the observer moves), they emerge and emerge, dance and dance, flicker their majestic snow-tipped claw in an ode to the moment, in appreciation of nothing less than pure ephemerality, an embodiment of the true art: the pleasure of the aesthetic sparks, of individual displays of light creating a single expression, a portrait of the silver-hoofed crab.

These creatures exist only to dance; they survive through their art. One can only wonder what visions their dance creatures, what fabulous symbols it represents while no one is looking, while only that hoof of silver moves in the darkness.

Unable to resist the temptation, I have managed to capture one. I trapped in a glass chamber within my abode imagining a fine light-bulb... Since its kidnap, not an inch of its body has moved, and its claw has turned into a horrendous black.


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