Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The World is Filled With Glittering Beetles
To a mind blinded by the bleak promises of science: we inhabit a realm of cold chance and bounded, explainable, probability. Each miracle of existence has behind it laws and rules correcting its presence in the world. Even the tiniest particles must adhere to strict traditions regarding their movements. To such a mind the following events will no doubt make a certain sort of sense, but such comprehension is false. There is a deeper layer of meaning that I myself have yet to find.
Recently I received a letter. It was from an old friend who I hadn't seen or heard from in a long while. The friend was writing from a hotel in Avignon. On the envelope there was a drawing of a Golden Scarab. The drawing was clearly illustrated by a talented and loving hand. One could easily note the care with which each line was drafted.
The next morning, on my walk to work, I passed by seven posters advertising a particular brand of pipe tobacco. I don't smoke a pipe anymore, I haven't since the war. The central design of the posters was exactly similar to that of the Golden Scarab on the envelope. In great haste I contacted the friend who had written the letter. He denied any knowledge of the brand of pipe tobacco, or indeed performing any design work for any corporation.
Then in my office, as I was interviewing a patient who had just confessed to having dreams about a Golden Scarab, I heard a noise tapping on my window. When I opened the window a beetle flew in. I grabbed it from the air, and noting the color I pocketed it. I calmed my patient, and returned to our therapy session. For the next few hours, as my patient complained about their parents and upbringing, I would pretend to check my pocket watch. Secretly I was examining the beetle.
After the appointment I ventured over to the city university and presented the beetle to an entomologist. Professor Stapleton, although normally reserving himself for the study and collection of butterflies, confirmed my suspicions. The beetle was a member of the scarabaeidae family. Indeed the color of the beetle's shell was a bright gold that seemed to glow regardless of the lighting.
Several days later I was called into my study by my maid. She had just finished dusting the mantle above the fireplace when she noticed a glowing line forming on the paving stones before the fireplace. By the time I entered the room I found, burned into solid stone, a perfect representation of a golden scarab. In fact the light given off by the glowing stones distinctly matched the color of the beetle I had brought to the Professor.
The following evening, as I walked home from work I noticed that every third woman seemed to be wearing a golden scarab broach. Aside from the broach, I could not sense any other similarity of dress in any of the women I encountered. I interviewed several women as to the origin of their broaches. No two gave the same answer. It seems that craftsmen from multiple points in history, and geography, decided to craft identical broaches resembling golden scarabs.
How strange is it that our lives are full of unavoidable details. One man may find that doors seem to close in front of him. Another may open fortune cookies only to find the same fortune, reprinted time and time again. For myself, I have decided that the beetles are as unavoidable as the sun above us and the air around us. I can no more remove the golden scarabs from my presence than I could pull the moon down from the autumn sky. Instead I have decided to catalogue each incident. Perhaps some sort of satisfaction may be gained from this endeavor, perhaps not. Regardless, my world is filled with glittering beetles.