This Beetle: Maybe I'll Name Him Benjamin

So there I was, bustling about the house getting ready for work, and this Big Brown THING caught my eye. It was a beetle, moseying along on the living room carpet.

No husband in sight to rescue me, I did the best I could: I scooped it up in a wad of Kleenex and…..

  • crushed it to smithereens? No.
  • dumped it in the toilet and flushed? No.

What I did, actually, was carry the little guy outside and carefully place it on a  leafy bush not too close to the door, where it’s unlikely to find its way back into the house.

MY house.

But before releasing it, I first took a minute to admire its glossy shell, its articulated legs, the sheer Ingenuity that had imagined it and brought it to life. The world is so full of wonderful things: birds that sing, kittens that meow, amoeba that reproduce by binary fission, horses that race in the wind… and these tiny, shiny ectotherms that live just to eat plants and lay hundreds of eggs in the warm soil.

* * * * *

Loving the world does not, in my mind, mean just gazing at the stars or visiting the Grand Canyon or savoring the aroma of a carefully cultivated rose garden. I love the Little Things, too: the bugs, and the field mice, and the gaudy polka dotted mushrooms that pop up in the backyard after a good rain, and the tiny sculpted flowerets nodding in the breeze above the ground cover.

So at our house, we let a Wolf Spider live in the kitchen window, and we watch it do its work; and for a few months in the summer, we simply avoid opening that window and disturbing its carefully constructed web.

* * * * *

I imagine that God, who created all things great and small, who created this beetle, smiles to see me smile at His great creativity and imagination. Just as God has a purpose for my life, so He has a purpose for this half-inch polymorphic Coleoptera with its gangly antennae. It chomps on leaves or dirt or other insects (I’m not sure which), and in turn, it may become Dinner for a bird or a larger insect.

Would I kill it?  If it bit my child, yes.  If it endangered my family or insisted on floating in my soup, yes.  But for no particular reason?  No.

Here, for your edification, is an action poem about beetles which I remember from my preschool years. Author unknown.

I know a beetle
Who lives down a drain—
His coat’s very shiny
But terribly plain.
When I take a bath,
He comes up the pipe.
Together we wash,
Together we wipe.

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