Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Live and Let Live

There have been a lot of pictures on facebook lately of oversized, leggy, furry spiders. Some brave friends have actually gotten close enough to photograph these creatures, and I've marveled, not sure what fluke of nature is underway.

Once upon a time, I ran from bees, hornets, wasps, spiders, and insects in general. If it had the capacity to sting, bite, or crawl over me, it didn't matter where I was, or who I was with, I ran. I have barreled head-first, down stairs, into bushes, over chairs, and bolted out of cars (several times into traffic). To say I was afraid of insects is a gross understatement. My fear of bees, in particular, was pathological, yet at the same time, I had an insatiable urge to watch them, to understand what made them tick. Fascinated, I would watch from afar (providing I had an escape route) as hornets crawled and burrowed their way into our stone walls, wood trim, and other hiding spots.

Ten years have gone by since the summer morning that I emptied an entire can of Raid in my kitchen to kill one hornet that had mistakenly taken up space in a skylight. (Certainly, the toxins from that spray had the potential to do way more harm than any bee sting.) I am no longer that same fearful, hysterical woman. What changed? Well, certainly I have aged. Life itself, indeed all life, has become more precious to me. But it's more than that. Fear has given way to a knowing, a belief, that all creatures have benevolent intent, and that a bee doesn't wake up in the morning (do they sleep?) plotting ways to sting me. I've become more inclusive of other people, their viewpoints, their idiosyncrasies, our differences, our similarities. It was only a matter of time before I could extend that same magnanimous worldview to all living things.

Today, I marvel at the powerful role insects play in nature. I've sat stock-still and noticed the translucent, shimmering green wings of a sand flea. I've admired the tight waists on wasps as they crawl over a brick on a hot day. Today, when I find myself in the company of a spider, a bee, a slug, I reach for my pocket guide, Animal Speak, by Ted Andrews, and I open my mind and heart to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, that insect has come into my life at that moment to deliver a valuable lesson.  Why not?

No comments:

Post a Comment