Friday, July 23, 2010

Morning Bug

On the back patio, while the morning was still cool, I was called to look at a bug. Although I was unable to identify this beetle (thereby spoiling my daughter's, husband's, and grand-daughter's image of my omniscience) I was able to grab my camera and get a nice macro.

What appeared at first glance to be a simple mottled coloring, in reality is an intricate pattern of bumps and tiny craters. Each leg of this bug is neatly striped; the antennae have segments, and contrary to cartoon sketches, do not protrude from the top of the bug's head, but rather the from the front, like a moustache.

This bug never knew its mother, father, or siblings. It hatched into a grub, and began to eat. That's all it had to do to take its place in the world: eat and grow and eat and grow until it was so large that it had to curl up and digest itself. In this transformation, it became a creature of legs and eyes and antennae; totally different, almost unexpected.

The bug walks the earth just like we do, but it is never surprised by what it finds. It doesn't worry about being outsourced. Drama holds no interest for it. Vanity is unknown -- uniform in its species, its wings need not out-do all the other beetles. In its travels, it may pollinate a flower or two, but being a successful pollinator is not its reason for living.

Bug will not climb up the tree and shout that it has a right to be left alone by ants or possums, or a right to mate and generate offspring. Rights have no meaning for it, as all it wants to do is walk on the world and live long enough to contribute to the survival of its race.

Its eyes are directed mostly towards its front; the bug intends to see what is ahead of it. Walking around something may be an option, or avoiding a danger, but there is no backing up, no second thoughts.

The fact that the majority of bugs like it will be eaten by predators, or themselves not have enough to eat to survive, or be able to walk far enough in favorable places to find a mate bothers the bug not at all. Statistics and reports have no place in its life. It does what it must, as well as it can, and success or failure are just part of its life.

Indeed, even a precarious and potentially dangerous stopping point for this bug's daily travel is not taken into account. The bug in the picture rests upon a flyswatter, completely unfazed by the looming camera and the large creatures that peer at it.

If people try to live this way, they're labeled slackers or losers or bums. However, if the people try to live this way and follow the path God sets for them ... well, the world still labels them slackers and losers and fools -- but aren't they the saints?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Days at Home

I've gained five pounds since Bernie got his new grill.

Now there are a few reasons for this: my left knee has been acting up rather painfully, so I can't do power walks in the morning; the deliciousness of the grilled meats Bernie makes inspire the rest of us to come up with excessive amounts of side dishes; and I'm so happy to be back in California that I have no restraint in enjoying our culinary adventures on the patio to the very max that my stomach can hold.


The hopseeds are drying on the tree, soon to begin dropping into drifts on the patio, signaling the half-way point of summer here.

A mockingbird has taken up her 5:30 am post on the neighbor's palmetto, singing her deafening refrain, "Come here, come here, come here, what-a-dummy, what-a-dummy, what-a-dummy, brrrt, brrrt, brrrt!" (The last bit sounds like a cell phone ring.)

The little mister is available on the patio for daily use, making a fine spray of water to cool the heated limbs while we chat in the shade; the big line mister is hoisted from the house to the hopseed tree to drench us in heavy drizzle on these triple-digit days.

Howie puffs and pants behind me as I move through the house in the mid-morning; Sebastian sits by the back door and makes squeaking sounds that should not come from a 75-pound dog. They know that the best part of the day is the part that includes leaping wildly into the pool. Each dog has his way of begging for the adventure.

I finally got around to reclaiming my studio after our days away, and afterwards, spent hours on the next project. I can feel my brain working on the possibilities even while I write this.

I love summer in the Central Valley, and I love a brain that can still work on autopilot.