THE BUG HOTEL
In the churchyard where my mother is buried, local environmentalists have just installed a bug hotel. It is beautifully crafted: different textures, different size holes, different coloured woods. I tend my mum’s grave every week, and at first I was discomfited by the bug hotel. The flowers growing on her grave sprang, I always thought, from her body. It fed them from the rich tilth. Would the insects now be indirectly feasting on my mother? She had been dead 5 years: would they find enough for sustenance? It worried me a lot.
Then I noticed that the hotel was gradually attracting inhabitants: bees (I was ignorant about the type), beetles (ditto), a few small spiders, some industrious ants. I watched it every week. It began to fill up. I sat and observed every time I went, and it was clear that the insects were taking food back to their homes. They were feeding their babies perhaps, or storing up food against a harsh winter.
That changed how I felt. I began to think that they were welcome to my mum’s corpse. After all, her body had carried her through life: walking, running, dancing. I recalled her saying that she was too old to be an organ donor, but she hoped that her skin might be good for something: grafts, burns. And so it was, perhaps. The insects had found her: and they were converting her flesh into sustenance. The cycle was complete, and my anxieties fell away. In my heart, in the evening light, I blessed the bugs: they had made her live again.