It seemed not so long ago a terrarium was a common sight in a home. Also fish tanks, turtle boxes, even freeze-dried sea-horses that you sent away for were trafficked more heavily in the pre-computer age. Little patches of life, microcosms and personal plots and spaces. Handheld domains sustained by the attention we brought to them.
We now cultivate social globes. We tend our Digitariums populated by “friends and followers”, and fed by our crafted personas. We spend swaths of time in prescribed webspheres made of input boxes, upload buttons, and php scripts. These are technically vivariums too, miniature worlds, but the contents of the bowl are linguistic and iconic rather than purely organic.
Yet they are similar in that we choose what to allow in, and what to keep alive, if we can. Whereas before, flies and water were the fuel, the nibbles now are snapshots, thoughts, and renderings of exploits.
Once in tender youth I sent away for the mysterious box of sea horse specimens. They arrived inert, suspended in some nether zone. Some came alive once submerged, most failed to animate. Damn, that was mysterious. Still is.
My hunch is that if our timelines held that much wonder, and our nurturings were as perched between life and death, we might be a more attuned and curious bunch.