I’ve read that the last living animal on our dying planet will be an insect, as they are the most adaptable of creatures. Yes, I think that must be true…

In late November, I came across a rather handsome bug, scrambling, I thought, to get back outside on what was a rather mild day. He didn’t repulse me, but rather, I was taken in by his length, long antennae, and camouflage coloring. I helped him to escape back to nature.

Or so I thought.

A week or so later, I was startled to see his brother or sister ensconced on my bedroom pillow. This relative was given the bum’s rush.

Then, as the weeks went by, I encountered other family members. Near a doorway. Waltzing out of a dark closet. In the middle of a room. This had to stop.

I called the Department of Agriculture and spoke to an agent who informed me that, “given Maine’s bumper crop of pine cones this year, (I) was experiencing the presence of the pine tree seed bug, a ‘harmless’ insect, merely seeking refuge from the cold.”

Well, that was a bit comforting, and spring was in sight.

Then, on Ash Wednesday, a rather mild day, I drove to St. Charles Church, ever mindful of my mortality and sinfulness. Mid-Mass, the woman next to me very tentatively tapped me lightly on the sleeve, saying, “Sorry. You have a very large bug on your back.”


A cautious removal of my outer vest, its placement on the floor in front of me, and a quiet, yet furtive search for the interloper — who was camouflaged — ensued. Not the way I had hoped to worship the Lord.

Squash! Three Hail Marys and an Our Father.

Needless to say, I waited for all the parishioners to leave the church, the priest too, before I dared slinking away.

Painful how much the pine tree seed bug looks like his kitchen cousin.

Bev Martin is a retired special education teacher who worked at the Longley School in Lewiston. She now lives in Harpswell.