Here you see the hands of a serial killer.
They are my hands.
Yes, I have killed several living beings in one go. Some would be proud of me. Some might smile. But I, I am in conflict.
Killing is wrong. We all know that. Yet, we go on killing in so many ways. Often not even thinking about it. Alternatively we differentiate between who and what may be killed for what reason. There are big issues like the illegal slaughtering of rhinos or trophy hunting that gets many people (including me) upset and protesting, but most of those protesting happily sit down and eat a steak. There is a difference most people seem to agree.
That is fine by me. They can do as they like. But what about me?
I realise that even if I am not a trophy hunter or rhino poacher, I am still senselessly killing many beings. And I wish I would not. So I am trying to at least minimize the damage, by becoming more and more conscious about when and where I am directly or indirectly killing.
Ever since I read the beautiful German poem ‘Die Mücke’ as a child, I had difficulties with killing mosquitos, but I still did. (I copied the poem below and updated the post with an English translation.) Some years ago I tried the approach of ‘making peace’ with them, and asking them to not bite me and I will not kill them. With limited success… on both sides.
But I did kill less and became better at ignoring them. This year there are so many, that ignoring them did not really work anymore.
Recently several of them made it into the mosquito net during the night and had a feast. In the morning they were all bulging red with our blood.
I was upset and swat them all, one after the other. It was easy, they were caught in the net, fat and slow. What a thrill to get back at them! I knew I should not. I felt pretty guilty looking at my blood-stained hands and their squashed bodies afterwards.
To appease them, I took photos of the crime scene, ie my hands. Making art about the conflicts ranging in my soul and mind is usually the best medicine, and often leads to surprising insights.
And to be fair to myself, I also took a photograph of my leg with, what seems like, hundreds of mossie bites. This made me think of star constellations. Maybe the mosquitos are from a different planet? Or their bite patterns form secret messages for us or for them? Something like: this persons blood is really yummy, you should try it too! Who knows? (I just love considering all different possibilities once my mind is set loose on a new mission. 😉 ) So I decided to work on this idea too.
While I was making the ‘Mosquito Constellation’ (below) I searched the internet for a picture of a mosquito to trace and found one on Conversations with Don Machinga and Other Beings – Musings from the Peruvian Amazon, in a post titled: Three Visits to the Mosquito Spirit King. What an interesting read!!! If you have a moment and are curious, pop over there to see what the Mosquito Spirit King is saying.
I will ponder on this for a while and try to refrain from killing those little buggers.
Mosquito Constellation by Imke Rust (Digitally manipulated photograph)
Wishing you all a beautiful week!
Albrecht Haushofer (1903-1945)
Ein leises Gesurr. Auf meine Hand
sinkt flügelschwirrend eine Mücke nieder,
ein Hauch von einem Leib, sechs zarte Glieder –
Wo kam sie her aus winterlichem Land?
Ein Rüssel … schlag ich zu? Mißgönn ich ihr
den Tropfen Blut, der solches Wesen nährt?
Den leichten Schmerz, den mir der Stich gewährt?
Sie handelt, wie sie muß. Bin ich ein Tier?
So stich nur zu, du kleine Flügelseele,
solang mein Blutgefäß dich nähren mag,
solang du sorgst um deinen kurzen Tag!
Stich zu, daß es dir nicht an Kräften fehle!
Wir sind ja beide, Mensch und Mücke, nichts
als kleine Schatten eines großen Lichts.
I have tried to translate the poem as best as I can. It might not be very elegant, but I hope you get the idea
Here it goes:
A soft buzz. On my hand
decents with whirring wings a mosquito,
a hint of a body, six delicate limbs –
Where did she come out of this wintry country?
A trunk … Will I hit? Do I begrudge her
the drop of blood that nourishes such a being?
The slight pain that the sting gives me?
She acts, as she must. Am I an animal?
So just sting, little winged soul,
as long as my blood vessel may nourish you,
as long as you care for your short days!
Sting, to that you have no lack of strength!
We’re both, human and mosquito, nothing
than a small shadow of a great light.
(Just as an explanation: In German the mosquito has a female article, so it could refer to a mosquito in general or a female mosquito. I decided to translate it in the form of a female mosquito, because that was easier and to me she is female. But I think he meant just ‘a’ mosquito.)