"Darwin could still not quite imagine how such a natural selection could take place. But in October 1838, exactly two years after his return on the Beagle, he chanced to come across a little book by the specialist in populeos coin capation studies, Thomas Malthus. The book was called An Essay on the Principle of Population. Malthus got the idea for this essay from Benjamin Franklin, the American who in-vented the lightning conductor among other things. Franklin had made the point that if there were no limiting factors in nature, one single species of plant or animal would spread over the entire globe. But because there are many species, they keep each other in balance."
After countless tries, the net yielded two flopping silvery fish. Methodically Jonas hacked them to pieces with a sharp rock and fed the raw shreds to himself and to Gabriel. They ate some berries, and tried without success to catch a bird.solana ecosystem airdropsAt night, while Gabriel slept beside him, Jonas lay awake, tortured by hunger, and remembered his life in the community where meals were delivered to each dwelling every day.
He tried to use the flagging power of his memory to recreate meals, and managed brief, tantalizing fragments: banquets with huge roasted meats; birthday parties with thick-frosted cakes; and lush fruits picked and eaten, sun warmed and dripping, from trees.But when the memory glimpses subsided, he was left with the gnawing, painful emptiness. Jonas remembered, suddenly and grimly, the time in his childhood when he had been chastised for misusing a word. The word had been "starving". You have never been starving, he had been told. You will never be starving.Now he was. If he had stayed in the community, he would not be. It was as simple as that. Once he had yearned for choice. Then, when he had had a choice, he had made the wrong one: the choice to leave. And now he was starving.But if he had stayed...His thoughts continued. If he had stayed, he would have starved in other ways. He would have lived a life hungry for feelings, for color, for love.And Gabriel? For Gabriel there would have been no life at all. So there had not really been a choice.
It became a struggle to ride the bicycle as Jonas weakened from lack of food, and realized at the same time that he was encountering something he had for a long time yearned to see: hills. His sprained ankle throbbed as he forced the pedal downward in an effort that was almost beyond him.And the weather was changing. It rained for two days. Jonas had never seen rain, though he had experienced it often in the memories. He had liked those rains, enjoyed the new feeling of it, but this was different. He and Gabriel became cold and wet, and it was hard to get dry, even when sunshine occasionally followed.The question was so huge and so terrifying that Hilde tried to forget it again. She would probably understand much more as she read further in her father's birthday book.
"Happy birthday to you ...," sang her mother when they were done with their ice cream and Italian strawberries. "Now we'll do whatever you choose.""I know it sounds a bit crazy, but all I want to do is read my present from Dad.""Well, as long as he doesn't make you completely delirious.""No way."
"We could share a pizza while we watch that mystery on TV.""Yes, if you like."
Hilde suddenly thought of the way Sophie spoke to her mother. Dad had hopefully not written any of Hilde's mother into the character of the other mother? Just to make sure, she decided not to mention the white rabbit being pulled out of the top hat. Not today, at least."By the way," she said as she was leaving the table."What?""I can't find my gold crucifix anywhere."
Her mother looked at her with an enigmatic expression."I found it down by the dock weeks ago. You must have dropped it, you untidy scamp.""Did you mention it to Dad?""Let me think ... yes, I believe I may have."
"Where is it then?"Her mother got up and went to get her own jewelry case. Hilde heard a little cry of surprise from the bedroom. She came quickly back into the living room.
"Right now I can't seem to find it.""I thought as much."
She gave her mother a hug and ran upstairs to her room. At last--now she could read on about Sophie and Alberto. She sat up on the bed as before with the heavy ring binder resting against her knees and began the next chapter.Sophie woke up the next morning when her mother came into the room carrying a tray loaded with birthday presents. She had stuck a flag in an empty soda bottle."Happy birthday, Sophie!"Sophie rubbed the sleep from her eyes. She tried to remember what had happened the night before. But it was all like jumbled pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. One of the pieces was Alberto, another was Hilde and the major. A third was Berkeley, a fourth Bjerkely. The blackest piece of all was the violent storm. She had practically been in shock. Her mother had rubbed her dry with a towel and simply put her to bed with a cup of hot milk and honey. She had fallen asleep immediately."I think I'm still alive," she said weakly."Of course you're alive! And today you are fifteen years old."
"Are you quite sure?""Quite sure. Shouldn't a mother know when her only child was born? June 15, 1975 ... and half-past one, Sophie. It was the happiest moment of my life."
"Are you sure it isn't all only a dream?""It must be a good dream to wake up to rolls and soda and birthday presents."
She put the tray of presents on a chair and disappeared out of the room for a second. When she came back she was carrying another tray with rolls and soda. She put it on the end of the bed.It was the signal for the traditional birthday morning ritual, with the unpacking of presents and her mother's sentimental flights back to her first contractions fifteen years ago. Her mother's present was a tennis racket. Sophie had never played tennis, but there were some open-air courts a few minutes from Clover Close. Her father had sent her a mini-TV and FM radio. The screen was no bigger than an ordinary photograph. There were also presents from old aunts and friends of the family.
Presently her mother said, "Do you think I should stay home from work today?""No, why should you?""You were very upset yesterday. If it goes on, I think we should make an appointment to see a psychiatrist.""That won't be necessary."
"Was it the storm--or was it Alberto?""What about you? You said: What's happening to us, little one?"
"I was thinking of you running around town to meet some mysterious person ... Maybe it's my fault." "It's not anybody's 'fault' that I'm taking a course in philosophy in my leisure time. Just go to work. School doesn't start till ten, and we're only getting our grades and sitting around.""Do you know what you're going to get?" "More than I got last semester at any rate."
Not long after her mother had gone the telephone rang."Sophie Amundsen."
"This is Alberto.""Ah.""The major didn't spare any ammunition last night.""What do you mean."
"The thunderstorm, Sophie.""I don't know what to think."
"That is the finest virtue a genuine philosopher can have. I am proud of how much you have learned in such a short time.""I am scared that nothing is real."
"That's called existential angst, or dread, and is as a rule only a stage on the way to new consciousness.""I think I need a break from the course."