The Bug That Flew Into the Fire

One of the most basic tenets of Buddhism is impermanence. Another foundational principle is that all beings have a consciousness and as such should not be murdered. Even insects.

Despite the nippy 55ยบ F weather, unusual for Southern California even in December, it seemed like a good day to light the fire pit in the backyard to contemplate nature, a cup of cafe au lait in hand.

A sense of serenity and gratitude descended upon me as the flames danced upward, albeit throwing off minimal heat as the source is a small gas jet. Apparently, the warmth didn't spread far enough afield for a fast-moving bug.

This little black supersonic invention of Mother Nature flew right into the edges of the flames' circumference and was incinerated so quickly that its little body disappeared into thin air; not even enough remains to fall on the stones of the fire pit. Who knew that certain insects are so highly flammable?

Although its incineration did not make me weep, something inside me did get a sharp jolt. This little creature was buzzing along, probably quite happy that there had been rain a few days before, which meant vast renewal of life. It didn't know as it traversed along its merry way that sudden death was its fate.

We say of humans who die instantaneously, "Thank god they didn't suffer too much." And in this case, my compassion does go out to this little being and the same sentiment applies to it-him-her.

The reminder of the day takes on yet more sad overtones as the memorial for Nelson Mandela commences in another time and place on the globe. Nothing lasts forever, and lest we forget, the bug that flew into the fire remains a vivid reminder of the frailty and beauty of life.



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