Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Squishing Up A Baby Bumble Bee

The girls and I were doing our popsicle routine between Canopy classes. We'd already seen one squished bumble bee along our path. And, then, we came across another, alive but listless, destined to be squished by any kid who wanted to live out the song. I pointed it out to the girls, who, at first, showed fear, but then calmed a bit. So, I let the bee crawl on my hand. On its last gasp, this guy wasn't in the mood to move at all, which allowed the girls to get a really close look--Ruby pointed out the three sections, which she'd learned about recently in school, we saw the furry legs where it carries pollen, the spiky claws Ruby worried hurt as they gripped my skin, the glistening wings, most likely too worn now for it to fly, and the two large complex eyes, plus the three or so smaller eyes near the subtly moving antennae. Ruby was quite curious now, and reassured me it wouldn't sting me--she assumed it didn't have a stinger because it was a nice bee. She was really warming up to this guy; she now wanted to name it--and she came up with a cleaver name (can't remember the full name, but Bzzz was its last name); and she told me how much she liked it.

Near where were were observing Bzzz is a small indoor pond several coy call home.  For some reason, I suggested we feed Bzzz, who Ruby had gotten attached to, to the fish.  Zia was very enthusiastic about this idea. She has quite an agressive streak.  Ruby, as would be expected from our little five-year-old vegetarian, pleadingly objected, "NOOOO!"
Zia yelled, "YEEESSSS! Feed it to the fish!!!"  "NNNOOOO, Daddy, please don't feed it to the fish!!" Ruby cried.

It went on like this for some time.  We even went to where the pond was; I wanted to see how this might play out. Part of me wanted to be objective and let the girls decide. Part of me sided with Ruby, because I, like she, tend to err on not harming even bugs; but part of me wanted them to see that fish eat bugs, and this guy was dying so he might as well be food for the fish.

Bzzzz, who had been hanging out on my hand for about 10 minutes or so by now, eventually ended up in a flower pot after I rubbed my hand on some plants it contained. And we went inside for Ruby's class.

Sometimes, if we aren't attached, it's easy to kill. Zia was not attached, not like Ruby, not interested in Bzzz, and she didn't have a problem, rather, she insisted on feeding Bzzz to the fish. Ruby, who had been quite terrified of bum
blebees, had grown close to it, studied it, named it, and wanted nothing to do with feeding it to the fish. Life is harsh--creatures die of natural causes, and creatures eat other creatures. I wonder if we would be so quick to eat so many of the creatures we eat as humans, if we had any kind of relationship to them, other than buying their flesh in pretty packages in stores. Chances are, if all the flesh we ate had names attached to them, the flesh of creatures we had studied and grown close to, we would not so readily consume such significant amounts of flesh. Nor would we carelessly harm other creatures. 

Incidentally, Bzzz was still hanging out on that plant (not dead) after the class was over an hour later.  I imagine his carcass has not been squished somewhere.

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