Insect Castle

Our granddaughter visited us over the weekend.  It’s nice to be reminded of the wonders of a child’s imagination.

On one of our walks she stopped at a sandy spot and spent at least 15 minutes building a castle for bugs.




She also picked this bouquet for her Mimi.



17 comments on “Insect Castle

  1. Jeff says:

    What intrigues me is how young children will build castles for bugs but when they get older, they will kill them on sight. How does that happen?


    • And what inevitably kills the instinct to build castles?


      • Jeff says:

        Beats me – that’s what I want to know. Seems as though there is a unity with Nature at an early age that somehow gets destroyed as time goes on. I don’t have children – is it common for young children to kill bugs as opposed to building castles for them? Maybe someone has some ideas why this transition happens?


      • Bill says:

        The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or a temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a wood shed with them.
        Henry David Thoreau


    • Bill says:

      But some grow up to be adults who catch flies and release them outside, rather than swat them. Nature or nurture? I choose to believe we’re moving toward a time when kindness to other creatures will be a universally recognized and practiced virtue. I’m not making any predictions on how far off that time is.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. shoreacres says:

    It’s not an either/or. The castle-builder can just as easily be the stomper, depending on circumstances. Both tendencies exist – what counts is which tendencies are nurtured. This can be true for adults, too. 😉


    • Bill says:

      “But truly affectionate parents will not indulge (children) in any kind or degree of unmercifulness…. They will not allow them to hurt, or give pain to, anything that has life. They will not permit them to rob birds’ nests; much less to kill anything without necessity, — not even snakes, which are as innocent as worms, or toads, which, notwithstanding their ugliness, and the ill name they lie under, have been proved over and over to be as harmless as flies. Let them extend in its measure the rule of doing as they would be done by, to every animal whatsoever.”
      John Wesley, 1783


  3. Colorado beetle? Cabbage worm? I have to say I trained my youngsters pretty young to kill these. We used a fair bit of enthusiasm for the job too. I don’t think it killed their instinct for kindness or respect for other creatures. The youngest used to sit for hours watching an ant nest. The oldest is terrified of spiders but begs us to take them outside rather than kill them. I kill chickens for meat, but it doesn’t stop me treating them well, even chatting to them in a friendly sort of way as I care for them daily for 2 months.

    I think the ying/yang of this thing is just part of us. I guess that puts me in the nature camp, though I think nurture is part of it too. Certainly a child raised to treat others (including insects and animals)without respect and kindness is going to be less likely to be a kind and gentle adult.

    Love the pictures of the castle builder. The intentness of the moment.

    Wesley clearly never had a rat infestation to deal with…


    • Bill says:

      I think the words “without necessity” put the quote into proper context. In Wesley’s time folks were not alienated from food production as we are now. The kinds of things you mention were part of everyday life. But also in Wesley’s day cruelty to animals was a popular sport, with things like cockfighting and bull-baiting being popular diversions that brought out the whole village. This goes back to Jeff’s original question of why children can grow up to thoughtlessly and indiscriminately kill insects on sight. Part of it lies in an appreciation of the value of all life. Wesley insisted that children should be taught to show kindness and compassion to all living creatures, going so far as to extend the Golden Rule to them. Some may turn out to be castle-stomping animal-haters despite that. But he urged parents to nurture kindness in their children.

      Like you we tried to do that with our children–who have experienced nursing animals to health, as well as euthanizing and slaughtering them. But I hope that they have never experienced unmercifulness or the killing of any animal without necessity.


      • Ha. I missed the words “without necessity” – he shouldn’t have put them right before “snake”, which my eye jumped towards. No excuse, I realize. And it’s very true about cock fighting, bull baiting, etc.


  4. Dee Ready says:

    Dear Bill, being around children has always helped me enter wonder again. They keep me young at heart. I’m often reminded of the poet’s words: “To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower. To hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.” Peace.


  5. Some things, such as mosquitoes receive little mercy from me. If they are willing to ignore me, I am willing to ignore them, however. 🙂 Love the “Ta da!” photo of your granddaughter when she completed the castle. –Curt


  6. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, Been gardening today so running a little late on my blogs. What a sweet grand daughter. When we are kids we wonder about every thing. The world hasn’t yet killed our compassion for the nuisance things of life. Ants for instance are a marvelous ingenious insect that has a purpose the grand scheme of life but if they invade the structure of my house, well, then I kind of lose my compassion for them. And yet who really has invaded who’s world?

    Have a great grand daughter day.


    • Bill says:

      It’s nice to have a child around again sometimes. I enjoyed watching here so engrossed in her project.

      As for the ants, at times we are in competition with other living things for resources. But often we are in contact with living creatures with whom we are not in competition and which are no threat to us. Those are the times, I think, that determine if we have compassion. I think it was Albert Schweitzer who said that if a person is walking and has a choice of where to put his foot on his next step, one choice being to crush and ant and the other being to avoid it, an ethical person will let the ant live.


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