When beauty dies

I have swatted more flies than I can count, laid out traps for ants and mice, but still I’ve often felt a little bad. I’ve even said, “Sorry, little ones,” after a successful kill. Some folks will laugh at how daft that sounds — apologizing to pests that need to be exterminated? 

I’m just not comfortable taking a life, any life, especially deliberately. I rounded a curve a couple of weeks ago and ran over a young raccoon a nanosecond after I realized he was there. I felt awful, but at least there was nothing I could have done. It was an accident.

I took this photo in August of a praying mantis hanging on to the side of our garage door. It probably has been years since I even saw a praying mantis. They are such interesting creatures.

Monday morning I rolled the garbage can out to the curb shortly after sunrise. It’s a mechanical task, one of those things you do without engaging your brain. On the way back down the driveway, I saw a little flash of green on the asphalt.

It seems either I rolled the garbage can over the praying mantis or stepped on it walking up the hill. In either case, the poor thing was gone. 

I’d say I don’t know why that upset me, but I do know: Like I said, it’s been years since I saw a praying mantis around here, and I killed it. It’s probably not the same one I saw six weeks ago, but it might have been. It’s like I knew this little guy.

I’ll be able to sleep tonight, just as I slept the night after I rolled over the raccoon. It was an accident, I didn’t mean to take the little life. Still, it’s one less beautiful thing in the world, and so I mourn. Silly, huh? 

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