In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti…
“We all die…and we inevitably go to the tomb, like the water, which rushes without return. Indeed, we are all rushing water. Of whatever superb distinction men flatter themselves with, they all have the same origin; and this origin is small. Their years push one another successively like waves; they keep flowing… they will all merge together in an abyss where one no longer recognizes neither princes, nor kings, nor all those other superb qualities which distinguish men…”
These are the reflections of Jacques Beigné-Bossuet in his famous eulogy to Princess Henrietta of England, wife to Prince Philippe of France and sister-in-law and longtime lover of King Louis XIV. In a way, these words still resonate within us: we all meet the same fate, no matter what lives we experienced on this beautiful Earth.
A king can die in the arms of his favorite serf; a pretty person can die right next to an ugly one; a healthy person dies just as much as a sick one; whether you go to Columbia or Cornell, you’re still going to die someday (although, who knows—maybe Cornell is also better at dying than us at this point).
None of us are exempt from the shackles of mortality, save the lucky few who dodge the gaze of the ever-flying Angel of Death. Our hearts will give out, our lungs will collapse, our eyes will go blind, our hair will gray…And is there any shame in this?
Does the suddenness of our fate’s arrival frighten us? Why do we not, instead, focus on the good we have done in the world? We have made a person smile, we have lit up the room with our glowing presence, we made a baby laugh…the world was left a better place because we chose to show some kindness toward our neighbors.
Little lanternfly, your guts will forever be scraped off the sidewalk when a passerby decides to clean the bottom of their shoe. Your plump, red body will be forever cracked like the shell of a peanut, peeking out of the brownish-gray exterior you built to protect yourself. Your sharp buzzing echoes off the bricks of our buildings forever reminding us of the places you once crawled on and nested. Is this what our memory of you will be, or is there something deeper? What else you have done, o little one?
Nothing. You are a pest and an invasive species, and you suck. You’re a cross between a moth and a red M&M, but you have the energy and resolve of a Manhattanville Project cockroach. You think the whole world is your personal launchpad, landing on everything and everyone without regard for their personal space. Your drone grates my hearing like a fork dragging its prongs on a Hamilton chalkboard, or the squeals of freshmen outside EC at 2 AM on a Saturday night. Your trail of carcasses reminds me of the inherent violence within every soul living here, so ready to press you deeper into the fertile soil so that you disappear and become food for the worms and the trees instead. You even fail at flying, hopping from spot to spot, spinning like a top because you fell headfirst onto the ground and cannot reorient yourself.
I believe all creatures on Earth have a higher purpose, but my God are you challenging that idea every single day you continue to plague my campus. So little do we care for your presence, and so little do you care for ours. Please, pray tell, tell me what you are good for. Do you eat the pretty flowers that adorn our campus we work so hard to maintain? Do you feed on the fabric of our backpacks, gnawing at the seams until our bags one day spill every expensive device we spent a little too much money on? Do you pluck follicles one-by-one from PrezBo’s “hair” to use as straw for your nest, where you produce more generations of your invasive family?
Little spotted lanternfly, I hope you die. I hope we both die.
Images via Bwog Staff