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Bugs in the grass

Have you ever just sat real still and watched a bug, a smallish bug, walk through the grass? Most of the time we rush about so that an answer to that question would be a resounding ‘Are you kidding?’ I’m right with you on that one, except for an unusually bright early morning this summer. I guess I felt a bit introspective as I sat on my front porch at our farm. When one looks at a big expanse of sky and hears the birds invade the silence with their cheerful calls, it is hard not to ask yourself the how-do-I-fit-into-the-universe kind of questions. So there I sat, doing just that.
Amidst my pondering of things infinite and eternal, I noticed the tiniest movement of the newly cut grass at my feet. It wasn’t just a one-time bending of the green blades. It seemed to be a slow, steady movement of the slightest dimension going in the same direction. As it proceeded along its route, it moved below the grass but often reflecting the sun from above. It was one of those times as it crossed a bare patch that I realized this insignificant spot was in reality a shiny black beetle. I watched it as it stumbled over the irregularities of the ground never out from under its protective cover for more than a second.
Even a bug needs to travel about in this life. There are lots of things bigger and stronger than a bug and many of them are hungry. There are many other dangers in life to a mere bug. Women often want to stomp on them, lawn mowers want to speed over them with sharp blades and cold weather can bring an end to a life well lived. Yes, if I were a bug, I would seek the low, out of the eyesight route of a black beetle on a summer walk.
As I was in a ‘look at life’ mood that morning, I went on to think of an impending return trip to the countries of Serbia and Moldova. It isn’t easy, as a foreigner, to work in these countries. My past journeys in these lands have often been filled with frustration and a feeling of not connecting. All my adventures are with groups doing humanitarian service. Most of the time the biggest things I can bring to a hurting country is the feeling that others care about them and want to understand their lives in order to better serve.
Often after a day of being out and about in an ex-Soviet union country, I have a pounding headache and a feeling of ‘What is going on here?’ My own observation is that after years of being dominated by forces that are beyond local control, people drop out of involvement and try to stay under the ‘radar,’ so to speak. They hope that having no one notice them will enable them to live their lives without interference. They are much like that beetle who made his way below the grass line in my yard.
In Moldova, I’ve found that people always tell you what they think you want to hear whether it is the real intent of action or thought. Then, they just go about and do what they, on their own, intended to do before you entered the picture. I’ve had drivers who would never admit that we were lost, but simply drove around hoping I wouldn’t notice while trying to eventually arrive in the right place. And then there is this old ploy, in answer to a question, they just shrug their shoulders and leave it to you to interpret as you wish.
As a consequence, most of the time they are simply responding to life instead of taking the initiative or assuming any responsibility. Just go along or act like you are going along and you won’t get hurt is the attitude. The Moldovans have been run over by the Germans, the Russians and the Ukrains for generations, and it is easy to see why they now take the route they do.
However, I think it is a self-defeating and predictable route to becoming always the victim. When you decide you don’t have any control over your future and leave it to the big dog, well, you know what big dogs do.
Sorry, but I can’t control myself. I am back to the discussion of the future of the Keller property. Are we driving the agenda because we know Corydon better than others or are we waiting in a ‘safe’ spot to merely respond to the initiatives of developers? A harsh statement, I know, and I apologize if I am rude, but I wonder these things as I sit on my comfortable porch and watch a limited beetle try to get through life without being done in.

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