To begin by doing no harm. An idea so stunning it stops me in my tracks–every day. On some, it paralyzes but not on this day.
Having just finished meditation and yoga, I am in the kitchen, chopping vegetables–kale, carrots, mushrooms–for my weekly pot of soup with pinto beans. It’s a simple fare, full of nutrients and immensely satisfying, what my digestive system appreciates–no harm.
Even with a chopper, bits of vegetables litter the linoleum like ants. My floor is the color of tired vanilla. Broom in hand, I spot an insect caught in my sweep. As I pull back, I see it has six legs, two wings, a slender, light brown body balanced on delicate legs.
In response, the insect jumps impossibly high before landing on its back. As I consider how to respond, the insect turns over, weak and staggering. It seems none of its fine legs are harmed but it is stunned. I can wait.
This is yet another reason never to sweep the floor, a task I dislike maybe more than taking out the garbage, no doubt why my linoleum is a shade of vanilla unlike any other. Only then do I remember pest control, dictated by my apartment complex management.
The insect has crossed the zone.
I reach for my makeshift insect helper, a sturdy paper card and jar that allows me to coax the insect up the ramp into the glass. I’m as gentle as I am able.
It is not a great effort and soon I am out the door, beyond the killing zone. It may just be hope that clouds my reasoning but this being seems stronger. Perhaps it was more stunned, not yet feeling the effects of the zone but I know its fatal power.
Nonetheless, the insect seems sure of its surroundings as it confidently makes its way into the grass, after considering dirt and concrete as possible paths. Life for a little longer outside the zone.
There is no virtue in helping another being. It is just a matter of doing the least harm. The alternative is to live in fear, not even an insect on its back will live like that.