Friday, 21 October 2016

Befriending a Flying Insect

After saving a Fruit Fly and a Bee at the pool, a couple of days ago it was a different species. As I dived into the water, I realised that there was about eight or nine drowning insects around the corners. Not fruit flies nor bees, but just like the one in the photos — which I still haven’t identified.

Now a veteran insect lifeguard, my natural reaction was to cup my hand and pull them out of the water one by one. Some still moved as they touched the ground, while others were motionless. No wonder a virtual friend of mine jokingly mentioned recently that I have a “Hero Complex”. However, this time I didn’t do more than that. For a while, I got lost in thoughts and pondered life, death, and existence as it often happens. Then it was time to let it all go.

Yesterday I was by the pool again, immersed in my writing, when one of those same insects landed between my thighs on the chaise longue. Possibly due to what had happened the day prior, I decided to offer it my finger as a ride. This may be the first time in my life to try to play around with an insect by touching it. I’ve previously seen photos and videos of people with their Praying Mantis, Beetle, Centipede and Millipede pets; others with random wild ones. Though I have never gone so close myself. Surprisingly, the li’l fella accepted the invitation and hopped on my index.

As I often share, I do kick flies out using pillows and magazines instead of killing them; as I have revived fruit flies and bees, even guided ants out of the kitchen. But I was still never completely fine with having an insect joyfully crawl on my skin... until it happened.

During the first few seconds of contact my brain was expecting a slight itchy feeling as the insect kept wandering confidently around my hand. However, there was no creepy-crawly sensation you would normally get from, say, a fly, probably because it was too tiny. That kind of got me relaxed and made me enjoy the new experience.

The insect stayed on my hand for about five minutes; during which I was able to snap those few shots using my laptop’s Photo Booth. It kept alternating between my palm, the back of the hand and the different fingers and seemed confident and comfortable. And then it flew away.

A minute later, it flew back towards me and landed on my hairy left arm. Out of habit, though, I suddenly moved my arm so it flew away again. Only then did I realise that it was most probably the same buddy.

This brief and novel connection with the natural world left me invigorated. I was touched by how such a tiny creature can learn to trust humans if they are given the chance. Truly, if one patiently observes them, you’ll find that insects are no less fascinating than mammals, birds, and reptiles.

What a stimulating Inter-Intra encounter.


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