Phoenix II

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

I appreciated that these are just other clever designs of God's creation and praised the name of who creates and regulates and he who measures and guides.

Phoenix II

 

I was tranquil in my location but later became less need for equilibrium and homeostasis, less tendency towards flatness. Sometimes I get bored from living in a monochromatic world, but I am reluctant about breaking the routine a little, though it would be less dangerous than an adventure. The dull daily monotony presents me saluting the sun every morning, with no subordinates behind me except rooted grass, ironweed, and tiny creatures.

I realized that my feelings are involved in a battle between boredom and novelty, stasis, and creativity. Such mindfulness pushed me to repeat my previous escapade, living in some other creature, but I was unsure whether such an adventure would be time-limited. My first escape lasted for one day only. It was flash reincarnation and wasn't reverse metamorphoses that would need much longer time.

I learned that I could only regress into creatures around or passersby that I see and thus into a particular social arrangement of the world. For example, I cannot (transform) to a bovine or ovine as they rarely come to the outskirt of the dark and deep woods where I live.

When I assumed my original identity as a Phoenix date palm tree (from briefly reincarnated Ant), I supposed I could repeat the experience following alphabetical order. Ant starts with the letter A, so the question was which creature around me whose name begins with the letter B would be suitable?

Like the first time, and just in case, I cloned myself before I reincarnated into a beetle, yes, a beetle not because there were swarming colonies of them near me. Neither because I enjoy watching the colorful Coccinellidae jumping. I just envisioned beetles could teach me how to stay humble and down-to-earth. Coccinellidae sounds like Cinderella, and it is the beautiful Ladybug or the Ladybird beetle that I have chosen.

I was amazed feeling my new hard but flexible exoskeleton made up of plates and a front pair of wings hardened into wing-cases. So, this is the elytra distinguishing beetles from most other insects! Unfortunately, it is not easy to fly. Only the back wings beat for flying. The elytra swing outward, letting the hind wings unfold, and it takes time to get off the ground, Unlike insects that immediately liftoff.

However, one of the water beetles approached, maybe because I was a stranger at the edge of the babbling brook, offering to teach me how to trap air bubbles under my elytra for use while diving. I enjoyed the freshness of such an immediate adaptation in water.

Then came the experience of watching events that I missed because of my direct reincarnation into a full adult beetle. I watched the hatched eggs of other beetles undergo complete metamorphosis, with a series of noticeable and relatively abrupt body structure changes. I had the chance to see the four life stages overlapping at varying times; egg, larva, pupa, and imago. A Monarch butterfly told me that its relatively immobile pupal stage usually lasts eight to fifteen days. 

I was also amazed at the operative camouflage of many beetles like the Dragonflies and some butterflies. I hardly recognized the beige-colored Tiger beetle blend on a piece of sand, distinct from the brightly colored shell of the Jewel beetle, still an effective camouflage. They use such body masks for several different reasons but primarily avoid predators through mimicry to blend into their surroundings.

It was one of the Ladybugs who asked if I liked her iridescence. She explained that she meant her shininess. She said that some beetles have beautiful, shiny coverings that look like metal or a jewel. That is what iridescence is. I understood that it is caused when tiny structures in the carapace interfere with specific wavelengths of light so that different colors are seen from different angles.

*****

I love science and history, and when I found the beetle scientist of the colony, he said beetles are an inspiration for humans.

"How is that," I asked

"Our adaptations attracted human interest in the emulation of the models. For example, the repellent spray defense of the Ground beetles from the Carabidae family has inspired humans to call them the "Bombardier beetles" and used the concept in the development of a fine mist spray technology," the beetle scientist replied.

"Another example, the Desert beetle of the Stenocara family can survive by collecting water on its bumpy back surface from early morning fogs moisture. Its water harvesting behavior has inspired a self-filling water container to benefit human living in dry regions with no regular rainfall", he added.

"I can't imagine how relevant," I commented.

"To drink water, this Desert beetle stands on a small ridge of sand using its long, spindly legs. With its body angled, the beetle catches fog droplets on its hardened wings spread against the damp breeze. Minute water droplets from the fog gather on its wings; there, the droplets stick to bumps, surrounded by waxy troughs. Droplets flatten as they contact the surfaces, preventing them from being blown by the wind and providing a surface for other droplets to attach. Accumulation continues until the combined droplet weight overcomes the water's attraction to the bumps. Such a droplet would stick to the wing until it grows larger; at that point, it will roll down the beetle's back to its mouthparts", the beetle scientist explained in such details.

"So human scientists have emulated this capability by creating similar alternating surfaces for extracting moisture from the air," I reflected with great admiration.

I concluded that there must be more to learn from beetles, such as controlling the free-flight steering, graded turning, backward walking, etc. I appreciated that these are just other clever designs of God's creation and praised the name of who creates and regulates and he who measures and guides.

*****

The historian beetle took me to the past horizon within the subjects of creation, visualization, or imagination. He asked me if I know why some ancient human cultures considered some beetles sacred. When I said no, he said:

"For the ancient Egyptian religion, for instance, the Dung beetles were a symbol of resurrection and transformation. In the Valley of the Kings, the scarab was of prime importance in the funerary trend. They were linked to the rising sun's deity, from the fictional resemblance of the dung ball's rolling by the beetle to the sun's rolling by their divinity. After all, beetles too offer some help for farmers and improve the environment".

"To carry the maximum amount of food particles at a single attempt, the beetle converts it into a ball and rolls it along the ground. It continuously changes its position to the ball to keep it moving. This is what perseverance about ", the historian beetle added.

I understood that in addition to being a symbol of transformation through four life stages, this trend's symbolism tells of being flexible with persistence.

I was surprised to know that some human beings seen beetles as a lucky charm and use them as an amulet, maybe because of the colorful wings, different shapes, and sizes.

*****

I sat aside, watching beetles interacting with the ecosystems in several ways. They feed on plants and fungi, break down animal and plant debris, and eat other invertebrates. Whereas some species are agricultural pests, such as the Potato beetle, the Ladybugs' group eat nasty insects.

The nature of Eusociality and the high level of the organization like ants attracted my attention.  That involved cooperative brood care, overlapping generations within a colony of adults, and labor division into reproductive and non-reproductive groups.

I met many beetles like the Rove, the ground, the Soldier, the Fireflies, and the Leaf beetles. I observed the camouflage of many beetles, the metamorphosis of others. I learned how to use elytra for diving, among other things. Being timely reincarnated Lady beetle, I absorbed much other knowledge on my orange back covered with seven black spots. However, my one-day adventure is over, and I had to reincarnate back to my majestic Phoenix status.

*(Front image of Coleoptera from the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Karlsruhe, Germany)


Submitted: January 06, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Ali Al-Zaak. All rights reserved.

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