LAST NIGHT I KILLED A SMALL INSECT: Thoughts on Engaged Ecology


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.

4 thoughts on “LAST NIGHT I KILLED A SMALL INSECT: Thoughts on Engaged Ecology”

  1. The idea of not killing or taking the life of anything is taught in Buddhist philosophy. Monks and spiritual folks who practice meditation, those who are fortunate enough to have the time, resources and will to live a precious human life, are often confronted with this idea of harming no living thing. It is a noble undertaking, not practical in our busy 20th century life. To have awareness of the act and feel remorse or at least regret is a good thing, a positive thing. A step in the right direction.

  2. Several weeks ago I put the cushions on the chaise lounges and was sweeping the leaves away that had gathered infer them. I looked down to see a tiny frog that lay unconscious and was obviously in the path of my sweeping broom. I felt sad about it and picked him up and gently rubbed his back. No response from the tiny frog????. I gently laid him on the
    doorsill and went about my day. Later that night I was still feeling bad about the accidental death of the tiny frog. I emptied a matchbox determined to give him a proper burial. When I returned to the doorsill, he was gone. Perhaps he was just stunned by my broom. I learned to slow down and look closely.

  3. Thank you, as I read the comments after the article I was approached by a small black flying insect. Studying myself and it, I willed it to land upon my arm. Beautiful and perfect in every detail, it meant no harm, it seemed curious. It flew around me a few times, brushing my skin at intervals, and flew off into the forest. I’m new to the area and had no idea what it was, but feel blessed with the knowledge that I have the ability to rise above the swatting impulse. I would still swat or preferably herd outside the possible harmful insect, but I check first if it’s a true threat before acting, I came here to live in their world, after all.

  4. Wind Whisperer

    At Vision Quest I was reaching for a higher consciousness. The first few bugs out of the many that were inspecting me were swatted or pushed away by my auto response. As I was was consciously integrating into the sacred web that response mostly shut down and then eventually did. The threat was smaller than my DNA inspired auto response told me it was. I experience a conscious evolution. I bet we can also allow the mindless, senseless buzzing of the politicians and other human beings we observe in our life to fly by also an not give them the power to steal the joy of our meaningful ride here on this planet. Thank you for sharing that Will. It woke me up.

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