How must it look down there through the eyes of insects? I sometimes lay on the ground simply to watch them. It always amazes me, so busy, so many activities going on. They know their roles and get on with them perfectly. How huge the human footstep must be to them. We just stomp on by, often oblivious to the perfection of the world happening at our feet.
The other night I noticed something dark on my floor and picked it up, only to realise it was a bull ant. He didn’t bite me. I just took him outside and put him on the grass. In the moonlight I saw movement on a drainpipe. I don’t know who says snails are slow. This little fellow was going upwards at lightning speed on a mission to somewhere.
As Australians we grow up with an awareness of critters. Our eyes notice movement in long grass naturally, as if looking out for snakes is built into us at birth. It doesn’t stop us doing anything. We just wear good footwear in the bush in summer.
We also have a natural ease with insects, including spiders. Well….most of us do anyway. When I was living in England, I recall a male friend of mine shrieking and jumping onto a chair because there was a spider on the mantle piece. I laughed, as it reminded me of sketches of a woman with a mouse in days gone by. I grabbed the dustpan and put the little bloke, the spider not my friend, outside.
Then there are ants. Now, you may not believe this story, but I swear it is true. About a decade ago I was living in a pretty built up area for a stint. I’d been there for several months, no ants in sight. One day in they marched. At the time I was going through a terribly hard chapter, so it wasn’t like there was much food for the ants to nibble on anyway. Not a fun time in my life, but certainly one that shaped a lot of good things to come in the future. Obviously there was enough food though, as they were still there another week on. Being an animal lover and a vegan, there was no way that I was going to kill them but they were starting to get in the way of me doing things and the risk of me accidentally killing them was increasing.
So I decided to have a talk with them. I basically explained that they had to go. I was happy to have had ther visit, thanks for dropping by, but it was now time to go. And sure enough, they left that night and never returned.
I still smile remembering this time. So please, before you grab the tin of insect spray (that horrifies me every time I see it), please consider other options.
There is intelligence in insects that we underestimate as humans. We have much to learn by observing their world. Insects work together, for the good of all. That alone is something we as a species could do with learning.
I watch the beauty of insects, the delicacy of a spider weaving her web, the seasons bringing new life to their world too. I listen to the chatter. It can be remarkable how much language is being spoken and that is only what sounds are audible to the human ear. I am sure there are plenty more that we cannot hear.
I recommend lying on your belly, unless you’re pregnant of course, and getting down to ground level. Rest your chin on your hands and watch. It may seem like nothing is happening at first until your eyes adjust. Then there will be a tiny movement, then another and another. You will see the activity unfolding. It is a beautiful thing.
The insect world is yet another great reminder of this delightful world we are blessed to live in.