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Lions Roar : March 2011
63 SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2011 effort not to hurt them, much to my surprise, i began to appreciate their tenacity. no matter that they’re responding to their instincts and to my heat and scent, there is still some form of awareness in the creature. it finds what it’s looking for. it eats. it survives. inside, i confronted my lifelong prejudice against cockroaches, especially the giant brown ones that crawled out of decaying leaves, slipped through cracks in a doorway, and crept or flew (the winged horror!) around the house. they ran from us, rightly so, and couldn’t be captured by usual means. My solution, although rough, was to whisk them through an open door with a broom. roach hockey. it works, and the method is kinder than the slap of a shoe. i’m not perfect. i still have a hit list. When a friend’s adopted daughter arrived in the U.S. with a case of lice, i helped her kill them and washed every sheet and towel to destroy the eggs. Fleas receive grudging tolerance. i’ve changed my cats’ diet in hopes they’ll re- pel the little parasites without the use of chemicals. Fire ant nests in high traffic areas do get flooded out to encourage their relocation. My actions, however, are no longer reactive. i am sad about the murderous year and thoughtless moments, the needless suf- fering i caused. yet through that, i’ve grown in my compassion for the small things. My intent to let them be has deepened my sense of relationship to them. they are teachers in balance, co- operation, fortitude, perseverance, beauty, and play. they are charming mysteries in our collective web of life. today, as i stirred from sleep, i remembered that i wanted to finish this piece but wasn’t sure how. before todd went to work, he left a note on the kitchen counter with a doodle. “good morning. Say hello to me. i’m building a web outside of the win- dow...” below the words was the image of a smiling spider. i stepped outside into the heat to find her. Centered in the spiral, striped legs relaxed yet ready, was a tiny banana spider. My Kali had returned, only she no longer inspired sacrifice. My offering to her, to all small beings, is extremely simple now. peace. ♦ RoNlyN DomiNgue is the author of the novel the Mercy of thin air. Her writing has appeared in new england review, Clackamas lit- erary review, new delta review, the independent, and the nervous breakdown, an online literary magazine.