Some of my friends (Kevin in particular) have taken to calling me the “Dalai Lammer.” I am unsure about the spelling of this name because it is a bastardization of the name Dalai Lama. I am called this due to my aversion to killing stuff. Sure I kill invasive weeds. If starving, I would readily hunt down an animal.
But I have—as they say—gone soft.
I now use live traps to catch mice. Once I catch one, I walk the mouse far afield and then release it with an admonishment about invading my house. I try my best to capture and release outside any insects (and even spiders) found in my house. I have not hunted big game since high school. I even allow dandelions to invade the grass down at my lakefront.
I simply find killing everything that bothers me senseless. Or as Kevin would put it: I am a pussy.
Evening last, I stepped out my front door and noticed a black caterpillar on my concrete walk. I cautiously stepped around the caterpillar. When I stepped outside an hour later, I noticed the caterpillar was still there in the same spot.
I must tell you, I was sincerely concerned about the little fellow. Yesterday’s temperatures were somewhat chilly due to a passing storm front. I assumed the caterpillar might have just been catching the last of the sun.
I let him be.
This morning, as soon as the sun clawed through the trees on the hills east of my house, I went outside and found the caterpillar still there in the exact same spot. When I bent down and prodded, I discovered the little fellow dead.
If there is one person in the world I know, it’s me.
If I left the caterpillar there, my attention would be drawn to it—forced to it—every time I stepped outside. To me, death, no matter how small, is conspicuous.
I scooped the dead caterpillar into the palm of my hand and then took it out into the spring grass where the natural cycles can do whatever it is that they do with dead black caterpillars.