Lucky Bug

moth with mismatched eyes

In the struggle to survive, bugs usually have the numbers on their side. They are tiny, fragile and sometimes specialized, but they go big in procreation. Their amazing adaptations from mimicry to stinging appendages to flight to tasting bad (that’s how the Monarch Butterfly does it!) and on and on and on—well, it’s no wonder they have made it this far. And yet, reproducing by the almost innumerable stands out to me as a negative revelation. What I mean by that is, I spend so much time photographing these tiny beings, it often strikes me how precarious an individual bug’s life is. They are dead in a spider’s web, trapped in a window sill, crushed by raindrops, parasitized with creatures right out of the Alien series of movies, stuck to car grills and/or the pavement, hunted by birds, squished by indifferent, terrified and oblivious humans, etc., etc. and etc. again. When I hover over them, especially the seemingly fearless ones, it is quite staggering to think how easily and variably they might meet their end as living beings. Then it strikes me—not like lightning, but rather the camera easing into focus: there are so many of them, and they survive by a collective imperative if not a will. But as all things pass, so does this thought, and I return to the individual, this little particular point of life—and broken wing or lost appendage or unbalanced eyes withstanding all the rigors of the decomposing world—I see a lucky bug. The only thing to be.

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