Fatalism & Insects

I rescued a cricket today.  I use the term “rescued” loosely since it wasn’t in any imminent danger.  It was inside on a step and I ushered it outside to freedom.  I’m sure it would eventually have made it back outside and gone on with its life – whatever that is.  What do crickets do anyway?  What service do they provide in nature?  I guess you could say they’re critical for tourism in those outdoorsy places.  I mean chirping crickets is somewhat synonymous with the great outdoors (to me anyway).  But I can’t believe Mother Nature had that original intent in mind when she set out to build them.  Then again, I don’t know Mother Nature’s grand scheme.  I do know how she operates on a small scale, though.  And if it’s your time, it’s your time.  Fortunately for the cricket, it hopped outside with nary a predator in site.  (Southern California is short on frogs in the valley and the avian society doesn’t seem up to the task of eliminating the egregiously large cricket population.)

That wasn’t the case for a dragonfly I helped out of a similar predicament.  The poor thing was exhausted after apparently trying to fly through a plate glass window that adorned the front of the house in which I was living at the time.  Mother Nature has apparently not thought to integrate the perception/understanding of glass into a good portion of her critters, particularly the ones who fly quite rapidly into them.  Though I guess it could be evolution at work.  Eventually a mutation for glass visualization should occur.  Said critter will just have to hope it has the gene for acrobatic, cat-like reflexes as well or, well, suffice it to say it won’t be passing on any genes.

Anyway, back to the dragonfly.  I tried to be as gentle as possible with it since I understand their wings to be quite fragile.  I didn’t want to free it only to have it unable to fly and hunt – especially since it eats mosquitoes.  That was a big deal when I lived in South Florida.  Dragonflies were good.  Mosquitoes were bad.  As such, I was almost duty-bound to help dragonflies and I wanted to satisfy my duty.  So, with gentle coaxing and an open door I managed to free this noble member of the Order Odonata from its incarceration.

It took off instantly, realizing what had just occurred.  I watched it take flight and was hopeful that many a mosquito would not see a tomorrow.  Alas, that wasn’t the case.  For as the dragonfly ascended to approximately two meters off the ground, a bird came swooping down with great ferocity from the powerline in front of my house.  I witnessed the carnage first hand as the bird caught the poor thing in mid-flight, instantaneously negating my hard work and good intentions.

Clearly it was just the dragonfly’s time to go.  It was Fate.  I will give it to the three Sisters, at least they tried to give the dragonfly a peaceful ending by bringing it into my house in the first place.  I choose to believe that Atropos would have cut the thread there and then in the window.  Instead, I showed up and she had to improvise another ending so as not to disrupt the timing of the cutting.  (For who knows what kind of epic catastrophe might have occurred had the dragonfly lived!)

So, when it’s your time, it’s your time.  We may choose to think that we escape Death on occassion but such is not the case.  There is simply too much evidence to the contrary.  Still, I continue to help the little buggers (pun intended) if only to stir things up and keep it interesting.  After all, the butterfly I save today maybe the one that causes the moon to crash tomorrow.

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