green in all forms ::::
After a typical summer-early fall rain storm in Atlanta, I walked outside to inspect my withering tomato plants. Ravaged by the squirrels, I had all but a few juicy bites to enjoy, noting the nearby grass littered with deftly nibbled green and red cherry tomato remnants. There was a glittery flash that caught my eye on the patio. A bright green iridescent shell of a beetle lay quiet and still. The thorax was askew. The elytra (wing covering) was partially opened. A leg was missing. Hmmm, I thought. Interesting. I should take it inside to show the kids later.
I came back 10 minutes later after weeding the tomatoes. The beetle had moved. No, parts of it had moved. Its thorax gone, wing coverings twitching. I peered closer: a scurry of ants, purposefully inspecting and dismantling the beetle, were in action.
That dismantling of body jogged a memory for me, remembering the post-partum haze of each of my three children. Though my body was certainly lush yet broken and tired, perhaps even feeling dismembered after that first emergent C-section, it was more abstract than that. My soul felt left of center, yet, in the glorious middle. There was joy bursting everywhere in the seemingly oppositional fatigue of birthing and breastfeeding. I wasn’t just me anymore: I was a mother, too. To someone. My soul had unfolded a new part, raw and pink. I compare it to the scene in the Pixar animated movie Inside Out, where two of the characters, Joy and Sadness, take a shortcut through the Abstract Thought area to get back to Headquarters. They are first transformed into Cubist versions of themselves (this brought loud and immediate laughter from me — and no one else — in the theater), then to two-dimensional forms and lines. A life change often thrusts us into these multi-perspective places, where we try to understand ourselves and the situation in a greater life context.
Somehow, I got all that from the dead beetle. I don’t always need a life change directly affecting me to ruminate on these many-faceted event. Sometimes, it’s something else having a life (or death) change. Or, in this case, a dead beetle being carried away by omnivorous ants.
If in need for a lush refreshment, a bit of fresh green, and a Cubist eye temporarily, this green apple basil fizz is your answer. The iridescent beetle is not obligatory. Just add some vodka to the drinks for a “multi-perspective” view.
One year ago: seriously awesome black bean burgers