Wednesday, November 12, 2014

a caterpillar occurred

FOUND A CATERPILLAR on our doorstep when I got back from my bike ride, except I thought it was a furry leafy at first. It wasnt until the what-I-thought-was-a-furry-leaf started walking that I realized it was actually a caterpillar. I wondered what kind of moth he might become. He seemed so fragile, so lost, crawling who knows where across the food desert of our doorstep.
     I debated saving him, relocating him to the holly bush near the mailbox maybe — do caterpillars even eat holly bush? — but then, kneeling to scoop him up with a blade of grass, I considered my own arrogance, “saving” a “lowly” caterpillar who might know exactly what he’s doing, going exactly where he wanted to go. Had he eyed a cozy corner of our doorframe as the perfect perch for his chrysalis? Would I return from my bike ride tomorrow evening to find a furry, feathery moth gracing our front door handle, learning his new wet wings in the moonlight? Maybe I was the fragile one. Maybe it was me who was lost. So I let the caterpillar be.
     Not five minutes later, going out to fetch the mail, it was only after I’d stepped across the doorstep that I remembered to step thoughtfully across the doorstep next time I went out. Turning around to assess the casualties, I swallowed my whole heart. A preliminary visual sweep of the scene revealed no injured caterpillars, thank God, but upon closer inspection, I couldnt deny a small wet spot on the concrete, six or seven inches from the threshold, a dot of caterpillar juice, sadly not furry at all.
     They say it’s good karma to release a cricket into the wild, to relocate a spider instead of smashing one, to harmonize with bats and mosquitoes, and my intentions were entirely noble. Yet the caterpillar’s blood is on my hands alone, and I shouldn’t be surprised if I end up as a caterpillar one day. Isnt that how karma does you? When I get swallowed by a grackle, very very thoughtfully, the moment I emerge from my chrysalis, could I honestly say I’d been treated unfairly?