The Smallest Creatures And Their Mess
I feel like my whole life has been defined by bugs.
I suppose I should feel like it has been defined by God.
But I don’t.
It’s the bugs.
They are always there.
Even when you don’t want them to be.
But, then, why would I ever want them to be there?
I grew up on the coast of Maine, a state where its greatest boast is that in the long, long winters THERE ARE NO BUGS.
No bugs when I was out cross-country skiing.
No bugs when I was out snow-shoeing.
No bugs when I was out hiking around.
Or just walking with my dog, Thor.
For all those months.
And then when their small flutterings and whispers in my ear were completely out of my consciousness, there they were again.
Right back where they used to be.
As though they had never left.
And, yes, Saint Francis, I acknowledge that all creatures were made by God and should be cherished as such, but, really? Bugs?
To me they are disposable creations of God. Like bits of food left on my dinner plate that get scraped off and disposed of.
Yes, food is a very fine thing. But that doesn’t mean that I have to consume every single bit of it that I come across in my life.
No, bugs come.
And bugs go.
Some only live a minute or two. Or whatever.
Some live, copulate, and die. Or whatever.
They have made it very clear that while they provide a use on this Earth, any of their uses DO NOT CONCERN ME.
But that was my childhood approach.
That hasn’t completely left me.
But my life with bugs has changed.
Maine: bugs in the summer months.
Virginia: are there actually minutes where there are no bugs? Or is that just a dream?
I live in a walk-out basement.
The floor is all mine, with the exception of the laundry room at the far (dark) end of the floor.
One wall is all glass. Windows. Doors.
And all access to bugs.
To come in and visit.
Which they seem to want to do sometimes.
I’m here to die.
Not surprisingly, my room has a ceiling. At varying heights.
No, I don’t know why.
So there are lower parts. And higher parts. And even some slanting parts.
And every corner is viewed as an opportunity.
For the spiders.
I could get up right now and take my circular brush on the end of a long pole and get rid of every single spider web in my room. It would take a bit of time. But I’ve done it. Many times.
And wakened to fly carcasses and pull-off wings dangling.
From the ceiling.
That was just cleaned.
So I don’t remember when it was, but I gave in.
I took my last stand of trying to fight back.
I’ve never outgrown my love of fresh air, so there is always a window open in my room. It only gets closed on the bitterest and most sweltering of days. Which, some years, only amounts to a couple. If that.
Much of the time I have a door open also. So the kitties can wander in and out. One very old one likes to lie on the small concrete step just outside the door.
One day there was a turtle on that stoop.
But really, if I began listing all the animals that I’ve seen either on that stoop or from that stoop, this writing would become even more boring than it already is.
All this is to say is that I live, very literally, in a sea of bugs.
They flow in. They ebb away.
I’ve become so used to living with them, that the only time I really react to them is if they are flying too closely to me, or decide they like the light of the screen when I am working on the computer.
Then I brush.
I don’t rage as I did as a child.
And over the years I’ve gotten used to their various shapes and sizes and sounds.
And if I really need to, I will pull the sheet over my head when I am in bed if there’s just a bug that is set on annoying me.
Which isn’t to say that I will stop myself completely from killing one or another here and there.
A tiny spider crawling on my food tray.
And those mosquitoes that accompany me into the, well, the….
And like the look of my seated flesh.
Those can go.
I’m not entirely on the same page of absolute tolerance as Francis of Assisi.
But I notice that I am getting there.
Even with bugs.