Socially Isolated: Day 14

“Why don’t we have things that other people have?”  Naomi’s question came out of the blue, as I was preparing dinner in the kitchen.

“What things do you mean, hun?” I asked, wondering where this question was headed.

“Like a hot tub, or video games,” she informed me.  Ah, ok, this wasn’t going to be that difficult.  I just had to remember that whatever I said would likely be repeated to friends whose families DO have those things.

“Well, we spend our time and money on the things that we value.  Dad and I like doing active stuff more than we like sitting in warm water.  We also value creativity, and we think your creativity will grow more without spending lots of time on video games.  Other families have different values.”  There, hopefully that wasn’t too offensive.  Incredibly, she let the issue drop.

“What are these holes?” Naomi asked, her face inches from the dirt bank as she scrambled around the rock outcrop.  We were walking around the quarry rim….or, more accurately, I was trying coax her around while she was stopping at every excuse.  Well, that question wasn’t so treacherous; no value judgments involved, just bugs.  I love bugs.
“I’m not sure, but maybe bees live in there–some kinds of bees dig holes in banks.”

“Here, let’s see how deep the holes are,” I suggested, deciding to embrace the snail’s pace and curious myself to poke a piece of grass in to the openings. “Wow, look, this hole is at least 10 cm long!” (Delight of the Day:  fishing a grass stem surprisingly deep into a tiny insect hole).  We poked dry grass stems into the holes for a while, orangutan style, before we disturbed one of the insects in residence. An oblong beetle scuttled out, mottled pink and brown.  “We’ll have to look that one up in Milo’s insect book when we get home,” I suggested.  “Uh huh,” she nodded, obligingly.  Try as I might, I’m not having much success instilling a love of insects into my children.

There’s a quote from a distinguished British biologist, JBS Haldane, who found himself in the company of a group of theologians.  Feeling metaphysical, they asked him to reflect on what science had taught him about the mind of God.  Haldane answered “The Creator would appear to have an inordinate fondness for beetles.”  Apparently there are 300,000 species of beetles on earth (just beetles, not insects as a whole), compared to about 9,000 species of bird, and 10,000 species of mammals.  Go beetles!

These ones turned out to be common tiger beetles.  It’s their carnivorous grubs that live in those tunnels, ambushing insects which walk by for more than a year as they grow up.

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