Meeting a dying Beetle
This morning I was watering the plants here in the Monastery Retreat House. Most of the plants I have I simply put in water and just watch them grow. Each plant is a work of art. As I was going out onto the Retreat House back porch, that overlooks our garden, I spied a beetle struggling. It was a beautiful specimen, with a long sleek body and long antennae. It was dying. I am always surprised to see an insect actually dying since I am sure the odds of living that long are against it. So I always wonder about them, their lives, etc.
I know that death is a necessary part of life. If the beetles of this species stopped dying for even a month I would imagine the destruction from that would be enormous. However, watching an individual die makes it a little personal. It was lying on its back trying to right itself, with little luck. It irritates me that I feel a sort of compassion for the creature, knowing that it would soon ‘stop’, die, cease to exist.
I project onto these beautiful creatures human emotions,, yet I also have a feeling, or intuition that there is probably more to them than I realize. As I get older, I am beginning to believe that this is true for everything. That our senses do allow us to study the world around us, as well as to experience it on so many levels. At the same time, it is also a way to keep us focused on a specific level of reality. Even if we are boxed in so to speak, it is a very big box, and we may never reach its limit.
After I watered the plants, I went back to the beetle and wondered if I should end its existence since it ‘seemed ‘to be suffering. I decided to let it die a natural death and put in one of the pots we do have on the porch that is on the top of the stairs that leads down into the retreat house garden. I made some sort of connection with the beetle, one-sided I know, but it took a personal aspect that stopped me from killing it.
I had a pet snail when in High School in Panama. It was a red pond snail and I kept it for about one year. I found it beautiful to watch as it danced below the water from one rock to another, or from one plant to another. There was a gracefulness to it that I could watch for long periods of time. Then after a few months, I noticed that there was a young one, and I was overjoyed. At the time I could not believe that I was so excited over a snail, but it lived in that bowl for quite a long time. When it died, I let the other one go in a place where it had a good chance of surviving.
I know that I project a great deal onto these seemingly primitive creatures, but at the same time, there is more going on that I know, or we know.
About two weeks ago, I got me a bottle, about ½ gallon, put some debris on the bottom, and some water plants that were in the fountain in the retreat house garden, and a few rocks. I also got one snail. So I put in a Pothos plant as well with long roots and wanted to see what would happen. The snail is thriving, which makes me happy, and it eats lettuce as well as the algae that are in the water and growing on the side of the glass. It is like looking into another world. Once the snail starts to lay eggs I will capture them on lettuce and place them in our enclosed pond. The pond is just over 50 years old so it has its own ecosystem. Even has a resident lonely bullfrog which seems to be doomed not to have a mate.
Of course, there is ‘Tom’ the turtle, which Br. Michael renamed it, Tobias. We saw it laying eggs the other day, but of course, they will not hatch, since Tobias (yes most likely Michael will change the name again......Tabatha?) lives alone in our large cloister, along with our common garden skink lizards. We don’t bother them, and they ignore us but eat up a lot of insects that would be a problem.
Then we have bats, they nest in our cloister somewhere and when walking around at night, or very early morning, they seem to delight in zooming around my head. They eat up a ton of mosquitos. Also bats, the kind that we have are very beautiful. Their faces resemble foxes, so yes, attractive….well to me.
The older I get the more I love creatures of all kinds. Now cats, well they are beautiful no doubt, but I am not fond of them. We have quite a few around here and we have people who care for them. They get them shots and fixed. We have six who live in our parking lot, and they are getting old and fat, but have nice lives. I do not mind them, and from time to time they will adopt a human who takes them home. Yet we seem to always have six of these critters. Mimi, a very nice lady is the main caregiver, so they do not become a problem. I feel sorry that so many cats are feral and they have very short brutish lives.
I won’t go into crickets, or snakes, which I do love. I would suppose if I was out in the world, I would have a Golden Python……I hear they are very affectionate if not hungry.—Br.MD