Wednesday, October 23, 2013

If you were a bug...

We recently enjoyed an idyllic week on the Oregon coast, with both activity and relaxation. My granddaughter Mackenzie seems destined to be some sort of critter wrangler - unlike many 6-year-old girls, she loves bugs, snakes, toads, salamanders, etc. Except for spiders. I believe certain adults - the ones who stand on chairs - have brainwashed her into being afraid of spiders.

She even built a "bug hospital" outside the house we were staying in - complete with leaf beds and pebble pillows.

During our visit to Shore Acres State Park (beautiful!), we saw lots of honeybees and bumblebees, busily moving from blossom to blossom.

We observed "wooly bear" caterpillars. (If the Wikipedia is to be believed, they hatch around this time of year, and then literally freeze over the winter in their caterpillar/larva state, and thaw in the springtime. Amazing!) When I was cycling, I saw literally hundreds of 'em on the roadway. I wish I could report that they were displaying some uncanny migratory instinct or traveling to a mutual destination, but 360 bugs were creeping in 360 different directions.

One of her favorite and routine finds was big, slimy, slow-moving banana slugs. We don't have anything like that in Boise, but they thrive in the humid and temperate coastal area. She
asked me, "What are slugs good for?" You know, in comparison with bees that pollinate our fruits and flowers, and ants that are famously industrious. I couldn't give her an answer.

(An interpretive sign in the redwoods area said banana slugs eat all vegetation in their path - except for redwood sprouts.)

Since then, I've thought about bugs and people. (Bike riding affords time for unproductive thinking about a wide variety of subjects.) And I've come up with a philosophical question, right out of the Barbara Walters Interview Manual:

"If you were a bug, what kind of bug would you be?"

Mackenzie would be a chipmunk. (Chipmunks are bugs... right? haha)

Many people these days are banana slugs, at least in their mobility habits. We've become a sedentary ease-seeking society. If it weren't for bicycling, I'd probably be a banana slug. But I'm probably a bumblebee - not very fast, no obvious usefulness, and looking at me, you'd guess that flight is improbable, even if you see me flying.

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