The Story of the Green Beetle

A few days ago, I was walking to the bus stop to head home from my summer camp job, and my mind was in a thousand places. I was thinking of all the emails I had to return, the laundry that had piled up, and the buzzing phone in my pocket filled with group text messages from work, and if I should eat pizza for dinner for a second time this week (resounding yes). My mind was anywhere but the present.

As I was approaching my bus stop, two enthusiastic young men stopped me, their eyes lit up with a feverish intensity. Being a New Yorker, I know what that means. Comedy club tickets, anyone? Or how an all-inclusive ‘salon package’ for the low, low cost of $69.95 but worth $200? Spend a year in Manhattan and you’ll be propositioned for both of those offers.  But these looked like international college age students, and they didn’t seem remotely threatening. So I stopped. They pointed down at the ground to a large beetle with a black body and glowing green legs.

Bugs freak me out, so I recoiled a bit. But this was magical; I have never in my life seen a bug so gorgeous and so unusual looking. It looked like it belonged in the amazon rainforest. The first thought I had was that this bug must not be real. It looked like it could be a small, robotic animal. The young men remarked that they had never seen a creature like this in their lives, and asked if I had. I shook my head and said no. We all stared at it in awe, until it jumped up and started flying, to our collective surprise.

There is no exciting end to this story – the bug flew away and I ran to grab my bus. But I was left in a new headspace, feeling curious. I spent my bus ride home searching google on my phone, trying to identify this beetle. But nothing came up that looked like the beetle. They were lots of bugs with neon green bodies, but none with just neon green legs.

People sometimes say that when you’ve got stress or anxiety in your life, you should step back and “Look at the big picture.” And sure, it’s good advice. But sometimes I think the better advice is to narrow your focus. Take in the smallest of details around you. See how the tiny details expand and become worlds onto themselves.

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