THE BEST VIEW: A bug’s life

by Norma Best Boucher

“Drat!” I just spent two minutes trying to save with a piece of paper a nondescript insect that was stranded on my living room floor. The insect finally grabbed the paper. I walked the paper with the tiny creature to the door and opened it. The insect then let go of its grip and jumped to the concrete just in time for my foot to land on it. “Oops!”

What did I learn from this experience? I’m thinking.

This fall, when I was home in Maine on vacation, I visited by parents’ graves. Many thoughts and experiences ran through my head, but the common thread was that I am thankful that I am an everyday, ordinary person. There is nothing wrong with being a celebrity, accomplished, recognized, or even charismatic and adored. I am just happy that I don’t fit into those categories. No one, except those I want, knows anything about me. The paparazzi are nowhere near, and I melt into crowds. Works for me.

Allow me, please, to walk down Memory Lane. My personal Memory Lane began in the late ’40s. I lived on a street with all boys, so I was a tomboy. There were cowboys and Indians, Kick the Can, Red Rover, baseball (I still throw like a girl.), roller skating (skates with a key, of course), and the “Ding Ding” ice cream truck. Ordinary? —Yes. Memorable? —You bet.

The sixties encompassed my high school and college years. I was fortunate enough to live in those times when our world was coming into a new age. I personally missed the drug scene. I was ahead in time of the turmoil or too busy with life to be involved. Later, when I taught high school English, I was thrown into that world with student devastation. Not pretty.

At the present time I have the joy of having three pet animals in my life, none of which are mine. I am their adoptive friend. There is an older, former feral cat, who makes sure that I am well-trained to her needs. There is an 85-pound dog, a three-year-old Rhodesian, who may run away at whim with me on the other end of the tether, and, finally, a two-year-old Yorkie, who runs circles around me, literally, when we walk. Life with these beautiful creatures is free, fun and enlightening.

What will tomorrow bring? I don’t know. I go to bed each night with a “thank you,” and I wake up every morning with great expectations. I may list a number of clichés such as “Stop to smell the roses,” or I may sit for hours trying to think up new, catchy ones. I don’t want to waste that much time. I want to pet the cat and walk the dogs. I want to LIVE, not just be alive.

Back to the bug. What did I learn?

I don’t know what the life expectancy of the insect was. A few seconds of his life may have been equal in time to hours, days, weeks, months, or even years for my life. Yes, he died, but rather than be stuck on my living room floor for the rest of his life, he grabbed the paper. As soon as he sensed the outdoors, he jumped to his freedom. Neither of us knew how long that freedom would be, but the last act of his life was to “Go for it!”

I guess what I have learned from that experience is that all I know is the here and now — life, opportunity, and the freedom to choose — so each day I shall with gratitude say, “Thank you” to the night, I shall with great expectations rise to the day, and I shall with as much courage as I can muster, “Go for it!”


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