LAST NIGHT I KILLED A SMALL INSECT:
Thoughts on Engaged Ecology
On my way to sleep last night, I was reading from my tablet in an otherwise dark room. Out of the night flew a small creature, tiny in every respect. He buzzed around my ear and then landed on the screen to interrupt my reading.
Without thinking I swatted him, and his remains left a smudge that I flicked away as I continued my reading. Drifting off to sleep, I thought nothing more about the engagement. Then, strangely, I awoke from a dream thinking about him. In my mind’s eye I could see his delicate wings just before I killed him.
And I asked myself in that pause between dreams, “Why did I kill him? Was it because he flew in from the landscape that surrounds us unbidden and outside my control?”
Then, at first light I was still raising questions. How easily my inner killer flashed to the forefront to eliminate a minor disturbance in the eco-field? Was I bothered by my automatic reaction when I swatted before being aware? I knew I had engaged in this reflexive and somewhat arrogant act before, many times, like a serial killer. I knew I condemned small-minded politicians for taking us to war and giving little consideration for their collateral damage. Yet, here I was in bed with them.
Most perplexing: I could not guarantee that I would not kill again in similar circumstances. The least I could do? I could breath and take a moment before mindlessly killing even on a miniature scale. Does such reflection offer a small apology to a small creature? Is there a hint of respect?
At least I am alive and engaged, if only in passing, with the landscape of which I am a part.