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Welcome to the Ark
by Stephanie Tolan


p.33 The dream came with me when I woke up. It didn't disappear or even start to fade. It was just the way a book is still there in your head when you finish reading it. And so was the sense of distant but growing threat.

p.71 Clouds chase across a woven field of rain
     As the wind blows the treetops slowly to the earth.
     Amidst the curtain-web of rain across the centuries
     A little girl stands looking at the world
     She isn't sure quiet yet if she belongs there.

     She wonders where she was before she came, and how
          it was she arrived.
     If she fell to the earth-mother's breast like a falling star,
          burning the heavens with
     a gentle light
     If she grew rooted out of the earth, and severed
          her roots--
     She wonders if the roots really are cut.
     Her toes dig deeper into the soft mud.
     She looks up into the clouds and sees the stars behind
          her eyes.
     AAround her is an alien world she has lived in lifelong
     Peering like a bird into the windows.
     Around her guns are sounding far away.
     The soil has been reddened by untimely blood.
     The stars are invisible to people during the day
     And to her except the little glimpses that chase
          around the corners of her soul.
     The raindrops water her--her toes dig deeper.
     She relaxes as a plant stretches for the rain.
     There is a gleam of star-dust in her eyes.


p.74 Interesting term for a psychiatrist--"to become reduced in amount or volume, to dwindle; to cause to shrink." I like the old English GESCHRUNCHEN. Fits Turnbull somehow. He tries to make me feel smaller so he can feel bigger. The tactic of a small, scared man.

p.111-112 The UN published a report a while back--you must have heard it. It said the world's worse today than it's ever been. Ethnic violence and warfare. Massacres and murders. Crime. Domestic violence. Even child abuse. They're growing at a rate no one's ever seen before. Not just because the population's growing--more in proportion to the number of people. There was the Holocaust in the '40's, Cambodia in the 70's, Eastern Europe in the 90's. But this isn't just happening in one place. It's everywhere, all at once. The report called it a pandemic of violence. Homo sapiens's self-invented plague.
     Homo sapiens. Intelligent man.
Just remember who named us that? You, of all people, should know better. How smart do you feel?
     Comparatively?
No. Just you yourself. How smart do you really feel?
     Truth?
Of course, truth!
     I've spent my whole life trying not to know how scary it was to have people call me the smartest kid in the world. Because I don't know anything.
So what does that tell you about everyone else? Homo sapiens? Homo horibilis is more like it. Look what we've made with the brain we have--guns and bombs and gas chambers.
     That's not all we've made. A human brain thought up the flute! Besides, we can change. We have enough brain to change!
How? Morality? Ethics? Religion? We've had all of recorded history for those to work, and look where we are. Violence is bred in the bone. Think about it. Suppose you and I disagree--big time. If I don't kill you but you're perfectly willing to kill me, who wins? You do. The killer.
     What about Gandhi? What about Martin Luther King?
Gunned down. Both of them, gunned down. Violence wins, Miranda. If you can't fight back, if you can't fight harder, you lose. It doesn't matter whether we fit in anywhere or not. The UN report's world is the world we have to go out and live in. Us with our puny little brains. Me with my flute. We haven't got a chance.
     Yean? Well, maybe we do. Something happened today when you played that flute. And Taryn called a hermit thrush to sing for us!

p.157-158 "Or the Banach-Tarsky paradox in math," Doug said. "We don't know enough to say what's impossible."
     "The what paradox?"
     "Banach-Tarski. If set theory works the way mathematicians would like it to, you cut a sphere into pieces and reassemble the pieces--the same pieces--into a sphere twice as big."
     Miranda shook her head. "That's math? The subject you said was so clean and pretty? So predictable?"
     Doug nodded, grinning. "It's the kind of math most mathematicians wish would go away."