Today I made a preliminary sketch for a much larger art piece that I have had in mind for months. I have photographed my models in numerous poses and this is a quick sketch- the first of many- of one of the characters who will appear in the final mosaic. The model is a friend, a person who is at one end of the height spectrum for hominids of European descent. I am at the other end of the height spectrum- I could pick her up under one arm. And yet, we are the same species!
In the world of people I see every day, I enjoy how different each of us is from the other, and so alike, too. It is true that we are genetically somewhat sorted by sex and by ethnic/racial groups; this becomes evident in the field of medicine where one group responds to a drug differently than another group, or one group is predisposed to a particular disease that another group escapes. But, on the whole, there is not but an iota of genetic difference between one human and another.
I am currently reading Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien, the story of her adopted Barn Owl and the author. In one memorable chapter the author diverges from describing the owl’s behavior to describing the behavior of her fellow biologists at Caltech. The researcher with his Black Widow spiders who loves the babies as if they were his own children. The primatologist couple whose home was layered with sawdust on the floor in order to be a habitat for the monkeys which were under study. The man who had spent so much time alone in the Amazon basin that he returned to the United States as a walking habitat for tropical parasites, some of which hatched from under his skin periodically. Each of these people is in the process of becoming one with his chosen species; not closely related by genetics, but perhaps related by temperament and love.
So much variation within a species, and so much correspondence between species- the web of life.