Friday, May 2, 2008

When Are Bugs Pretty?

No one thinks flies are pretty?! I'm shocked. I mean, look at the little guy, with his huge red goggles, his shimmery blue-green hide, and his little hook to hold on with! Though, to be honest, if he had been on my kitchen counter I'd of whacked him without a second thought. For me the demarcation line is inside versus outside. I've always been an outdoors girl, and I marvel at the beauty of all kinds of unusual things. Snakes, for instance. My mom says there's something heathenish about my fascination with snakes. But have you ever really looked at, say, a coral snake? They are really gorgeous. We have large indigo snakes here too. Once my young son was leaning against a tree by the pond and felt something on his leg. He looked down and there was a 5-ft. indigo climbing him! He did a frantic little panic dance and the startled snake dropped off. Evidently he'd never seen a tree behave like that.

I find many spiders and other unpopular creatures to be beautiful too. My sister and I loved ants when we were little and were always trying to make homemade ant farms, with moats around them. An awful lot of ants drowned themselves rather than stay with us! Maybe it's from growing up in Florida where you either get used to things or stay nervous a lot. We always did a lot of camping, so when we went swimming or canoeing, it was usually in a pond or lake, and there were often alligators nearby. Mostly they leave you alone, especially if no one has been feeding them. Unless they've been fed, alligators are pretty shy of people. I did get to swim with a manatee once, back before it was illegal to touch them. They have hides like elephants and faces only a mother could love. We have oodles of lizards and frogs. We watched quite a drama in our bathroom window one day. We heard what sounded like a girl screaming and ran to find the source. There were 3 frogs on the outside of the screen, but there was the glass of the window kind of trapping them. They were what was screaming! A snake was crawling up the screen, wanting to eat them. While he was trying to pick out the juiciest looking frog, a tiny spider started sidling sideways toward him, ever so slowly. Finally he reached the snake's head, climbed on and bit him right between the eyes! The snake jerked, then fell from the window. So the little spider saved all those frogs! Sort of made me think of the story of the mouse saving the lion.

I love watching all the little dramas unfold as long as the creatures are outside where they belong. Even birds, which are so beautiful and fascinating flying free, I've had no luck with inside. Once we had a parakeet named Midnight. It was basically psychotic. I figure it was because it was caged. Another time we came home to find a peach-faced lovebird clinging to our screen door. Someone's pet that had escaped, we thought at first. My son made a pet of it, and at first it was adorable. It would sit on his head and sing and act all innocent. Soon, though, it became an attack bird, refusing to allow anyone in to his bedroom except him - and then, it turned on him too. We came to realize that it had probably been booted out by it's original owner in self-defense! I use to like squirrels, too. Until one got down inside our bedroom wall! So, if any bugs could read this, the moral of the story would be - stay out of my house! The bugs in the pictures I posted were all found outside and left to live and let live, except the red and black one that I trapped in my kitchen! He was left in a jar to be admired until he expired.

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