Lost without my scarab


I've had a terrible week. Could it be that my good luck charm was being cleaned? Probably not, but I am much happier with him back around my neck.

Considering that there are 7000 varieties of dung beetles found on all continents except Antarctica, there is remarkably little written about them. Most of what I know about dung beetles comes from personal observation. Having the opportunity to watch these delightful creatures at work has been as rewarding as seeing the big five. I have done both. I have not actually seen them digging holes in the ground. I have not actually seen them navigating by the Milky Way. I have not actually seen them bury dung 250 times heavier than themselves in one night. But I have been utterly entranced by them industriously forming balls of dung and rolling them away. There is a sense of purpose to their activity that we humans could learn from. Not only do these lowly creatures recycle excrement, but they also improve the soil. And much of our soil needs improving. Could it possibly be that there is a connection between the decline in the number of active dung beetles and the health of our soils? In 2016, I stopped in Egypt on my way back from South Africa. My guide was wonderful and took me to all the places I needed to see and, inevitably, some touristy shops. I have to say that for a country pretty desperate for tourists, they were not at all pushy and as a result I really wanted to spend. At the government sponsored jewelry store where I was supposed to buy a cartouche (with my name in hieroglyphics) I looked at maybe 50 different items. They were uniformly horrible. Eventually, the man said that he had something he thought I would like and produced a one-of-a-kind solid silver scarab. I not only liked it, I fell in love with it and it has been on a chain around my neck ever since. And not a day goes by that I do not receive a compliment. Rebirth and regeneration. That’s what we need.


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