Little White Aliens

white jumping spider

A great philosopher once traveled the universe; he returned home to planet Earth and declared he had seen every possible form of life, every type of terrain. Inevitably, a curious cat asked him, “What were the aliens like?” To which he replied, “In  my infinite travels, I’ve never met an alien. When God deigns to introduce me to one, I will let you know.”

That is a fiction (I do that sometimes, but not as often as I should). On the relevant topic, however, I think despite the bugs’ pervasive nativity, if we can call it that, to Earth, they are considered tiny aliens, as much as anything is. The funny thing is, when you widen the scope of space, the layers of alien-ness fall away. When you extend it to the totality of existence—or the edges of the universe(s)—just technically speaking, what could possibly be said to be foreign? And yet bugs are reviled and feared despite often being not only harmless, but also beneficial. They are different from higher orders of life in a fundamental way, but hopefully, in a funnier way, the camera—by shrinking the focus and enlarging the subject—can make them seem less alien. Apart from the beautiful colors and unique forms, we can see the clumsiness of beetles or the fearlessness of dragonflies or the inquisitiveness of jumping spiders (like the one pictured above; family Salticidae). Or, at least I hope the close-up photos can be the windows  into seeing these things; life, of course, is best experienced firsthand.

So if I haven’t convinced you (yet) to let a little jumper poke around the end your camera—or even better—to tickle a curious path on your hand or arm, maybe you can start small and let go of that irrational fear of a little white alien that never hurt anyone. Educate yourself (What’s that Bug? is a great place to start!) and introduce a little bit more wonder into your life.

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