I’ve always been inspired by many things in life. Music. Art. Comedy. Architecture. People’s faces. Wheels on cars. The color of doors. Photography. Grass. Ladybugs. And even roaches.
I once saw a roach, a big bronze sucker, scurrying across the black asphalt of a parking lot. I leaned in and observed this little guy (or whatever gender it was) running—it seemed—across the pavement. A frantic scurrying. And I, in my infinite wisdom took a video of it.
I made a little art film out of the roach. The little bronze shiny insect was such a universe of his or her or its own making.
Here I was sitting on a break from work, just minding my own business, and this slice of nature meets urban jungle caught my eye.
There a billion of these moments everywhere. Thoreau—a writer who wrote about nature and solitude and wrote a famous book, Walden—wrote about sitting around in some backyard in Walden Pond. Or by a Walden Pond. Or next to Walden Pond. Somewhere with a Walden in the name of the locale.
I confess, I never read that book fully. I read snippets. Tidbits. Prose bites. And what I read was similar to what I was doing with the roach. Just observing nature. Watching. Being inspired by the tiny universes all exploding with life all around us.
And here was this roach. I’ll call it “Walden Roach.” The little fellow scurrying to and fro. Trying to avoid a sudden death from a tire or a shoe or some rat. You could see it was running from something. Real or imagined.
Running with little legs on a black stone ground. Cars rolling by. People laughing. A parking lot full of activity.
Yet here was little Walden Roach, with no bills to pay; no love interest; no career; no oven to cook a meal in—running somewhere. Its body hard and brown and shiny, designed to withstand the elements.
I think I loved that video more than any videos I made of my big dumb face. (No, it’s not really dumb…I just added that for effect…)
But I really loved watching nature do its magic dance, right under my feet. A real live insect action film.
And yet, it still was a roach. And they’re not loved by people. Ladybugs are loved by people. Roaches are hated and feared and the common response when seeing one is repulsion.
But alas, still one of nature’s holy creations. Some DNA somewhere decided to make the roach.
So I didn’t kill it. I just watched and filmed.
I was inspired.
By something happening right outside my head. And my thoughts. And my concerns, worries, and dreams…
Walden Roach, I salute you.
You are my insect muse.
You show me life is more than just whether to put cream in my coffee or not.
It’s also about running across a hot, vast black paved parking lot.
In search of something…