It's the little things that matter. The small and nagging things. The patter of persistent unease that ascends your inner pants to test the limits of your skin-deep tolerance. The fairy clouds of compound eyes that buzz around your head and settle briefly to sip what traces of happiness still ooze from lint-filled orifices. The mites that gnaw at your pride and breed so fast their minute shells cover every inch of breathing space. It's the littlest thoughts that matter and make the end of each long day a remote pleasure of soft pillow talk.
It's the little things that you lose sight of, as you wander down new paths. The scaly shades of baby blue that hide behind pale, powdered wings. The padded claws of flightless nymphs as they cling to drooping vines. The fine webs of haemolymph that serve as cloaks of invisibility for lone leafhugging hoppers. It's the little cracks of dry movements that betray the skink as it scurries for signs of life. And a blunt glance is all it takes to see a sisterhood of carpenters in their cambium cleft, slightly stirred but hardly shaken in their moist chamber of secrets. Queens in size but not in nature, they offer few rules to live by and waste no wood to halt this aching need to hold your tongue, turn the other cheek and brace for a bite that barely hurts but never heals.
Fed by fertile currents and protected by the blessings of a half-forgotten shore, the reefs of Tanah Merah have returned to shadow red cliffs lost to the bulldozing might of flat minds. In the waters beyond the low seawall, the corals have regained a hint of their former glory and enjoy scant gratitude from line casters for their role in drawing good game close to shore.
The loose slabs that loom over this garden of polyps too are losing their dull lustre as fresh waves of larvae land on the sun-soaked stones to bask and build new kingdoms of corallite. The polyps bud and branch, defying beaked predators and warming seas as they connive with cultured chloroplasts to capture the soluble wealth of the tropical sea and turn dissolved carbon into new colonies of living rock that may outlast this age of hard broken homes.
Consider the minute and the many. The invisible multitude that crawls before your eyes on a flat of grainy resolution. The sand stirs under cross currents of tidal rivulets and a loose rug of pointed shells whose occupants graze on the thin layer of life that coats the silica. Worn spires that lurch with greater speed betray the presence of squatters wielding feathery whips to slice their way through flotillas of plankton. What bits and pieces remain on the substrate are fought over by see-through shrimp who trust too much in their strength of numbers to care for the few that fled up the food chain.
Every square foot of salty water between the deep blue and pale shore refuses to stay still and surrender to a maniacal flood of human refuse. Halophytes have returned in straps and spoons. Nubile constellations of sand-shifting stars lose their innocence in spiny stacks of stiff bodies. And new generations of bottom dwellers sweep in from the Sunda Shelf, morphing their bodies from bizarre pelagic forms to miniature models of benthic adaptation still too young to betray their true colours to the visual assault of naked eyes.