I’d assumed the little black dot on the back of my desk at work was a crumb from some day-shift worker’s lunch…..until it moved. Closer inspection showed it to be a tiny black weevil with an overall length of about 3/16 of an inch. Of course, being a weevil, over a third of that length was snout. If I were at home, I’d probably have shoveled him up with a paper and taken him outside and turned him loose. This was work, though, and I figured they wouldn’t appreciate paying me to free misplaced bugs. So, I left it alone to wander my desk, thinking that maybe I could save it later.
I knew its odds of leading a life of any length was nil in its current environment. It was crawling on a laminate desk, surrounded by plastic and steel electronic devices, plastic-coated electrical wires, in a cubicle covered with what is probably plastic-based fabric, in a room with tile floors, drywall walls and some sort of unnatural-looking drop ceiling. Water is found only through a self-closing door in the restroom.
As the little fellow climbed up on a wire in the tangle at the back of the monitor, I had to wonder if the poor little guy was hoping for a glimpse of sky, a blade of grass, or a drop of water. I knew that he wouldn’t find it there. Since the “experts” have decided that even plants feel pain and have a crude form of reasoning, I had to wonder what was going through his buggy little mind. Was he “looking for love in all the wrong places,” or food or maybe just a crowd of his own kind, so he could be part of the weevil community? By break, he’d crawled off somewhere else while I was distracted by talking to folks who were as unhappy to hear from me as I was to hear from them. I suppose the poor little fellow will soon breathe his last, all alone in a strange and forbidding world.
Of course “The Boll-Weevil Song” came to mind, as he, too, was probably looking for a home. Also, the lone quail that visited my neighborhood several years ago entered my memory. Having probably escaped from the pen that held its hatchery mates, it sounded terribly lost and forlorn as it called and called, hoping vainly to find a friend.
How often, I wonder, do we humans feel like that little weevil—alone in a strange and unforgiving world. My great aunt used to say in moments of melancholy, when thinking of times long gone, “Time changes things.” My wife’s paternal grandmother used to say that she felt like she was living in a strange world. As I get older, I understand more and more what they meant. The world keeps changing around us, so we no longer fit in as we used to. Plus, we sometimes have to go places or do things that don’t seem natural to us. I think if I had to live in a big city that I would survive, but I’d probably feel a lot like that little weevil.
I’ve never been one to wallow much in self-pitying loneliness, but there have been many times over the years that I’ve been acutely aware of my aloneness. Luckily, I handle aloneness pretty well. Still, there are days when I’m especially thankful for the love of a great big God, and a doting little dog. Maybe that’s why I felt sorry for the weevil. © 2014