Friday, November 12, 2010
When I was a child everyone, particularly, my mother, always told me to stop taking things “out of proportion.” “You take things too seriously,” they’d say. “What a child,” I’d hear the grown-ups whisper in frustration behind my back. Those things were never out of my proportion, just theirs. I cried and angered easily. I was disturbed by things others ignored.
The time I saw my first silverfish, at the doorstep to our Manhattan apartment, and refused, for hours, to cross the threshold, my mother was certain I’d lost it. I was certain I’d seen a dragon, and that once I walked inside, it would assume its true size and cook me with its fire.
The day a neighbor boy I didn’t like because he was gross came to play and wanted to use my crayons, I refused. Those were my mechanisms for telling the truth. I wouldn’t allow that creep to sully them—I knew where his hands had been! What a ruckus I made. My poor mother!
Though I’ve gotten quiet, or at least more diplomatic about it (except at Whole Foods the other day, when the manager was cold and inhumane) my sense of proportion has stayed pretty much the same as it was when I wore black patent leather shoes and bobby socks (no lace, thank you).
Yesterday, along Lower Ridge Trail, a fragment of red, near to the ground, caught my eye. I got down on the ground. The world righted itself. Proportions regained their proper perspective. There was a small red bug—red like something bittersweet, a hot pepper left a bit too long on the vine. It became the world’s beautiful center. A lanky red bug, no bigger than a sunflower seed, with twitching antenna stood at attention on a length of grass.
Wanting to know the insect’s name, I turned to the internet, only to find the world out of whack, once again. You try it: type in insects Monterey, CA.
The first items on the list, a rather long, sad series: pest control companies, exterminators! One calls itself an “insectary.” Please. How about this one? “Wild West Pest Control!” Pathetic. My eye had to travel a long way down. I had to scroll to come to what I was looking for: insect identification. Once there, I still couldn’t with any ease, whatsoever, find this one’s name. A beetle, I think. I’m going to ask my human reference, naturalist, Nikki Nedeff. Unless you know and will, kindly, tell me...
Before yesterday, I never wanted to know a bug’s name. But now that I do, the world not only spins better, but it’s gotten even more beautifully enormous!
Posted by Patrice Vecchione at 8:01 AM