Beyond the Stars


Sitting in the sun, acclimating to the gentle June heat, swatting away an annoysome fly who keeps returning over and over, I know this swatting is definitely wrong—a stirring of the killer instinct. I remember naturalist artist and writer and turtle man, David M. Carroll, keeping his hand steady, while being bitten by hordes of mosquitoes,  so as not to scare away the turtles as he paints them . Clearly he is a superior soul in his patient endurance of being bitten and as his, almost spiritual, beautifully poetic, writings and drawings reveal. I remember, too, the words of Pema Chodron, Buddhist teacher and nun, who teaches and preaches practicing compassion on little things, learning not to “bite the hook” of anger.

So I let the fly alight on my ankle and he seemingly happily stays on my leg and does not bite. I begin to try to image feeling kinship with this fly who likes my leg, fighting the idea that he is laying eggs in my skin. Pema Chodron has clearly inspired a city girl, afeared of bugs, to make friends with a fly as I watch the universe of insects beneath my feet. A Daddy Long legs crawls on my camera bag, hitches a ride to our bed when I go inside the house. I bring him back to his home outside.

This compassion things feels right, start small and grow big. As if to reinforce this point a butterfly lands on my chest when I return to my contemplation spot in our back yard. But all is not sweetness and light. Later the same fly (I swear it is) who landed on my leg now activates karma for my earlier murderous impulses towards him. He lands on my toe and bites me. A cautionary tale against getting too carried away with being virtuous. Still worse, later as I walk in the coolness of early evening, a bug lands on my arm and attempts a vigorous bite.   In an instant, a reflexive smack smooches him dead.

So it would seem I have to start even smaller with my acts of compassion. How much smaller can one start? I wonder with daunting discouragement about the many, many more lives I will have to live to learn lessons of compassion and no anger. I contemplate the prospect of how many, many more films I will have to view in this movie house of Maya we call life. When, oh when, will I learn all my lessons? When, oh, when, will the sun set for good for me on this circle of life so I can exit the orbit and rest beyond the stars??

9 responses

  1. Love this!!


    June 10, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    • Thank you so much!

      On Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 1:28 PM, MOONSIDE wrote:



      June 10, 2014 at 4:32 PM

  2. When we speak we kill microscopic organisms, when we walk, drink water, breathe….every moment we commit ‘sin’. To be aware is a good start I think.


    June 10, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    • Thank you for visiting, Arjun, and for your wise and valuable comment!

      On Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 3:09 PM, MOONSIDE wrote:



      June 10, 2014 at 4:33 PM

  3. Oh, come now. 😉 Let’s not hurry our leave. Nature secures and intrudes.
    Flies were born to die more so than we, I believe wholeheartedly!
    Smack-down rules to be fairly applied all summer long ~
    (The late frosts helped us Northerners.)
    Keep smiling! Cheerz, UT


    June 10, 2014 at 7:14 PM

  4. Just wanted to say something here nobody’s mentioned so far, and that is the picture at the top. It looks like an amazing watercolour but may be a photo, is it? I think it’s wonderful, conveys a kind of creativity that suits what you’re saying in the post too…


    June 10, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    • Thanks so much, Tiramit! It’s a doctored photograph. My painting is not that good. Glad you thought it matched the post. Both fed each other.


      June 10, 2014 at 11:46 PM

  5. Ah, I can see that you’ll have to spend the summer waving a feather fan to lightly move aside all flies from your path, meditatively of course!


    June 13, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    • Oh, I have killed flies and mosquitoes and such in the house and probably will still do so but I will think twice or thrice about doing it and will avoid it if possible.😊


      June 13, 2014 at 8:49 PM

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