Dear Curiosity Journal,

As I approach the task of plucking hundreds of Japanese Beetles from the marigold crop, I challenge myself to hold the complexity of coexisting with “pests”. On the one hand, I’m zealous about the flourishing of my flowers, and the marigolds hold a sweet spot in my heart. Rufus jokingly calls me “The Horse Lady of Marigolds”. The term “Horse Lady” lovingly refers to a female archetype who carries a certain rugged and vigilant intensity. I don’t play about my marigolds. So when the swarm of beetles arrived, I felt an urgent call to action, declaring war, murdering them with my bare hands, and stalking them like a predator. A week into the crusade, I’ve softened my course, dropping the shiny iridescent bodies into a jar of soapy water, rather than squishing their guts between my fingertips. You like to fornicate on my flowers? How about a bubble bath to finish up? I consider space for gratitude; how the beetle has brought me closer to the crop by forcing me to sweep it everyday, how my appreciation and passion for the flowers has increased in light of the possibility of losing them, how I discovered the leaves hold a distinctly different smell than the blossoms (and it’s the smell of the leaves I love most), but especially that I can expand my love for the marigold to include the love of the beetle. I can appreciate their opalescent constitution and marvel at their uncanny ability to reproduce, while simultaneously reducing their population without a glimmer of malice, just pest management. You guys are glorious, but you can’t live here.