Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Contemplating a bug's life

When you've smacked the 15th insect on your outstretched ankle, you have to go ahead and relinquish your claim to be relaxing on a summer's eve with a glass of wine on your porch. You are merely asserting the little you can claim as your human territory, pondering how insects haven't managed to completely overtake the earth by now. They have in fact doomed the Maine moose, reportedly infesting the austere mammal's population to the point of infertility via tick bites. That might actually be a tick in your cheval blanc right now, or a May fly six weeks late for the party. Gardening has brought insects back into your life, long after the Peace Corps days of whacking cockroaches with the more useful end of a Chinese-made hunting knife or spraying the dreaded scorpion-spider with an entire can of "Bop", only to see it literally lick its little legs off and keep on haunting your abode with its horridness. And it's a complicated relationship, bugs to us, and they help, and they hurt and they will and do win in the long run anyway. Take, for instance, the disgusting little black larvae I was personally squishing between my fingers for the infraction of adoring the same parsley leaves I happen to want to turn into a delicious pesto some day. A little internet research instructs me that they are swallowtail butterflies in the making, a helpful pollinator in their next life-stage, a bringer of peppers, tomatoes, peas, and all things good. We humans, I tell you, cannot win.