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  • Jodie Harburt

Tales from the Earth: Earwig

I see a bug... it's a beetle... a thing... it's alive. Don't tell me that they are dying... taking us with them... a sure sign of our imminent demise. Extinction. You are kidding me surely? Look see! There are loads of them, something's on my foot right now. A tiny indeterminate bug like thing. I'll even let it bite me... sting me... whatever... Let it live. There are millions of these things... surely they can't be dying out....

Crawlies don't give me the creeps and spiders, even those big ones don't give me the heebiejeebies any more... Damn it....I'll save them and prove my solidarity, they can climb onto me...on my back...on my my butt crack.. (OK so maybe not the butt)... I'll walk them to safety. I'll protect them... There has to be a way.

The bug looks up at me. It could be a shield bug or a round, balled up louse thing... or an ant.. Maybe a hover fly buzzing around or a hairy caterpillar... Maybe a slug or a dragonfly ... So many different textures, sounds and skills. But today it's an earwig, inherently wise. The earwig looks up at me and says "You stupid-arse-pompous human... For fucks sake.. Who do you think you can save with your clobby feet, dimwittedness and horrendous sense and sensibility deficit. You? Save us? Face it you selfish blithering idiots... You only decided to save us because you realised without us you DIE!" He yelled that last word as if dramatic effect was necessary and stomped off. I stared blinking after him in my apparently very stupid haze.

Owing to his limited mobility skills and a tall blade of grass he hadn't got far by the time I regained my composure. I asked "So... What do you and all of your friends suggest?.. I mean seeing as we fucked up so royally what on earth can we all do?" The earwig stopped mid grass blade and his weight lowered him towards the earth, he breathed in as deeply as his narrow thorax would allow and let out a long and exasperated sigh. Despite his diminutive size his demeanour was that of supreme inner strength, empowered by his own righteousness and the solidarity of a trillion like minds. Looking around I saw that many of the other critters, despite their seemingly fruitless endeavours, were also surrounded in this same wise and focused aura. And the earwig began to speak. It was rather like a vibration,

possibly a song. I felt it as words but also as cellular comprehension. (That is a thing right?) When the earwig had finished he had told me many things. He had refuted my idea that he was "friends" with any other species of bug let alone mammal or amphibian or avian creature, he denigrated my anthropomorphism. He showed me that despite each life form's individual sense of unique separateness and despite our limited perception, that our irrefutable connection lay beyond those limitations. It made utter sense; just like the knowing that our life lies beyond our own existences and time goes on and around. He showed me through sensations the fractals of his view. Existential survival and meaning and connection down on the ground. He connected with me using my language of words and body that made his message accessible to me. A worm surfaced along side and emanated the most satisfying of earthiness. The tangible throb of these creature's vibration entered my pores and reached even the dullest parts of my comprehension. As the sensation deepened I felt myself sucked down into to the earth. I was the worm eating the delicious gift of organic matter and my whole body became the digestive tract that shit out that matter as a new gift to the soil. Matter to matter metamorphosis. The taste of life itself in my mouth, inhaled as a fresh breeze and exhaled as a warm caress. And I felt somehow utterly at one with the sense of satisfaction of shitting and being one with that shit. My flesh identified readily with the sense of itself being digested and egested as future shit. My body eaten by and manifested into the life of the worm and shat out into the soil. Becoming soil. The soil itself the soul of our food in turn again digested and shat... This is the collaboration of life, this is the communion and community. Nurturing. Sustaining. Replenishing. Being. The infinite wisdom of an earthy system that knows itself and everything beyond. Conscious of its living and loving and shitting and being. My mind slipped deeper into the soil... My body became the matter. The worms nibbled at my flesh and I was aroused by this tantalising connection. To infinity. I yearned to be devoured. The earwig scuttled along my cheek and his ribbed torso dragged along my lip, a spider's tiny feet tickled and gripped in the dip of my clavicle while a snail slithered under and towards my breast. I sunk deeper into the ecstasy of being. Sensing it in my flesh yet even deeper in my soul. A true connection. The kind people pay good money for or take weird drugs for yet may remain unable to ever achieve. I could stay there for ever...

The clover roots dragged me back up and I became aware that the worm was gone and the earwig still on his bent blade was slowing his humming down. Or was it the bee or the chirping thrush or the wind in the whispering leaves above that had my entire system humming in peace and passion. Passionate peace... An oxymoron. The cacophony of life. The earwig came towards me and broke the spell with a jab. Nor a physical bite. Just a word. "You" He said. "Me?" I said. "Yes you. Who do you think you are?" "I'm just the shit of the worm" I said. "WRONG! He admonished... You are not "just" anything... You are everything and nothing. Learn to live this paradox You will go as you have come. Live wisely human being of our planet. Lest you forget remember the passion of life on your flesh. Remember the touch of ecstasy in your bowels. Remember the flickers of connection in your heart. Remember the warm tickle of love in your soul. Lest you forget; Lie in the wildness. Gaze up to the stars. Swim naked in the sea. Make love with yourself and with life in every thing you do.

And remember what the Old Tree told you. Use your words and your ways woman and tell the others. Before it is too late. For nothing you can do can save us. Your back is not broad enough and your butt crack not sacrifice enough (thanks but no!) Only love is the ark and the ark is everywhere... You will find it on your body, upon the earth, in the sea and in your breath."

With that he got up and left. I got up too and went to make love.

Photos all adapted and from Pexel except worm and earwig which I nabbed from the net.

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