Sunday, January 30, 2022

Bathsheba and the Stinkbug

It sounds like the title of a fable, yes? "Bathsheba and the Stinkbug." But it's just a random coincidence, one of my favorite things. I'd been wanting to tell you that a stinkbug lives in our house, and how happy I am to see him, as I miss the praying mantis, who has disappeared from the houseplants--probably as a result of death, not perpetual molting. Stinkbugs, an invasive species here, often winter in houses, hibernating, or so Wikipedia tells me. (This image is by Hectonichus.) The stinkbug is known for its heraldic shield shape.

Then Facebook brought forth a memory, the cover of my book, Spiritual Midwifery, which has an image based on a painting by my husband, Tony Rio, of a woman at her bath (or that's what I see), just like the biblical Bathsheba, at her bath on a rooftop when David saw her, fell in love, and (perhaps on purpose) sent her husband, Uriah, to battle, where he conveniently died, so David could marry Bathsheba. You don't hear that name often, but my character in Life Sucks is Babs, a nickname for Bathsheba, her real name. And when I opened the new issue of Granta, dedicated to travel writing, the first article is by Bathsheba Demuth, who went to Russia to see the gray whales. What are the odds? 

Plus, Babs has Ukrainian ancestry--Ukraine of Eastern Europe, bordering and/or controlled by Russia at various times, and still vulnerable and in the news--and Life Sucks is "sort of adapted from Uncle Vanya," by Anton Chekhov, a Russian playright, whose birthday was yesterday. The gray whales are on the Alaska side of Russia. Probably Sarah Palin, also in the news again, for eating in a New York restaurant while having Covid, can see them out her window when she goes home again. Sigh...

I noticed that the stinkbug appears when I put in the A.M. Yoga DVD, flying joyfully (it seems to me) around the room to new age music, as I do my relaxation and stretching as a warmup for rehearsal, and to calm my distracted, mourning mind, or when I take a snack upstairs after rehearsal, often with vodka--the play is full of vodka--which 1) I can't have before rehearsal but which 2) is not such a good re-hydration beverage, so I also drink water and/or Gatorade. What do stinkbugs eat? Plants and fruit, not vodka or peanut butter on graham crackers. Why is the stinkbug in my bedroom and not in the kitchen with the houseplants and fruit?

And then I discovered...the other stinkbug! There are two! But they are probably not mating. And they might both be males. And there might be more than two. Wikipedia tells me one house had 26,000 stinkbugs. Fortunately, they are happy here, however many of them there are, and they are not stinking up the place. And probably they'll go back to sleep soon.

Yesterday was the memorial service for my poet friend Bill. What a lovely event, and we read several of his poems aloud. His wife and sons spoke, colleagues, and a close friend who is a retired Unitarian minister. Bill was not a churchgoing man, but he wanted her to say his eulogy. His son and grandson, opera singers, sang! Laughter and tears. Cello music. Veterans presenting colors. Masks. Exactly what was needed. Life goes on, and loss is part of it. Babs says something like this in the play. But nothing about stinkbugs. That's just me.


Collagemama said...

Stinkbugs look very handsome to me. I think a couple would be okay in the house. I have a couple spotted geckos, very tiny, that I see once in awhile. They blend in with the carpet along the baseboard most of the time.

Kathleen said...