We share our gardens with the largely unseen world of buzzing, crawling, creeping, burrowing, flying and hovering creatures. Hugh Raffles, in his new book Insectopedia, reminds us that insects are our companions in life, for they eat our food, populate our homes and gardens, share our airspace, the soil beneath our feet, and even our beds.
Insectopedia is compulsively readable, equal parts anthropology, travel, philosophy, history and science, with chapters entitled "Kafka", "Temptation" and "The Quality of Queerness Is Not Strange Enough", among others...My favorite chapter is "Vision". Did you know insect eyes see much as ours do, including colors? ...There's even a drawing of a room as sensed by a housefly, which looks very Van Gogh-like.
From the chapter on language...."What foolishness to judge insects - so ancient, so diverse, so accomplished, so successful, so beautiful, so astonishing, so mysterious, so unknown - by criteria they can never meet and about which they could not care...what pitiful poverty of imagination to see them as resources merely for our self-knowledge".... Insectopedia will stir your imagination about the unseen universe of insects out there eating, nesting, flying around, mating, and living out their lives in our gardens.