Sunday, July 23, 2006

Insects: Invasion of Thought

With the advent of summer come hordes of marching ants and swarms of flies, mosquitoes and gnats. can be extremely annoying as they whine, buzz, bite and dive-bomb their way into our world with no consideration of anyone's feelings. Our first instinct is usually to run for a fly swatter or a can of "Off". I've been just as guilty as the next person in proudly knocking as many bugs as I could into the next world. They can be really hard to take when they're sucking your life's blood, but killing insects is akin to trying to pick up tons of grain at a time. Insects can multiply much faster than they can be killed off, no matter what new we use against them.

We rarely take the time to reflect on the singular beauty and grace of the insect kingdom and its importance in the scheme of life. We rarely consider insect qualities and what, if anything, we can learn from them. Is it possible that, with a change of viewpoint, insects can become our teachers? As an artist, I've become fascinated by their clean lines and often alien personnas. Some insects have light, feathery wings that glow in the sun with all the colors of the rainbow. They are actually light-weight aerodynamically-sound flying machines! Others have smooth, polished, chitonous exteriors and resemble armored tanks. Many are architectual wonders that are both challenging and fun to draw. As I continue to study insects, their resemblance to helicopters, airplanes, missiles, bombers and even spacecraft begins to increase. Their alien personnas begin to seem more familiar.

Do they also have qualities? Why, of course! Insects definetely have persistence. They have purpose. They know the meaning of teamwork. They are extremely adaptable on any terrain. They push on relentlessly once they have identified their target. Obviously worms got their namesake from somewhere: they can strip the whole countryside of greenery in a matter of weeks. Locusts can swoop down out of the sky in a black cloud of fury, destroying a whole grain crop before your eyes. Flies and ants can strip a carcass to the bone in a matter of minutes.

Insects are not only a destructive force; they are also a creative force. Spiders can spin huge, magnificent webs using nothing but that which comes from inside themselves. Bees, hornets and wasps build hives to rival any ancient palace. Termites build structures as tall as any pyramid if you take into account their diminutive size.

Insects may be food for the birds, but they can also become food for thought. Perhaps what we hate most about them is that they embody the very qualities we don't want to acknowledge within ourselves: they are greedy, they are persistent, they are fruitful and multiply unchecked....they are threatening to overun the earth.

These ideas can be empowering ones if we pay attention to our little teachers. I recall a fragment of an old song which children are taught in school: "just remember that an ant - can't - move a rubber tree plant".... Well, perhaps ONE can not, but the many CAN - if they have but the will and the persistence of insects. Which world dream would YOU like to help create?

Insects at Thyroid Diaries - Bee Happy

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