The Beautiful Face of Destruction

This little fellow laid waste to my pansy bed.  As far as I can gather he is some sort of “cutworm” that is a caterpillar in the family of Noctuidae (sleeps in the ground during the day, eats the garden at night) perhaps in the genus of Heliocheilus.  I can’t place him in a specific species.  It’s funny how there are “tobacco worms,” “corn worms,” “turnip worms,” as if each worm was simply created to dedicate its life to the destruction of one of our precious food sources.  It is strange that something so beautiful could be the harbinger of death.  This reminds me of a striking quote from David Bentley Hart’s The Beauty of the Infinite:

“There is, moreover, an undeniable ethical offense in beauty: not only in its history as a preoccupation of privilege, the special concern of an economically and socially enfranchised elite, but in the very gratuity with which it offers itself.  There is an unsettling prodigality about the beautiful, something wanton about the way it lavishes itself upon even the most atrocious of settings, its anodyne sweetness often seeming to make the most intolerable of circumstances bearable. . . Beauty seems to promise a reconciliation beyond the contradictions of the moment, one that perhaps places time’s tragedies within a broader perspective of harmony and meaning.” (Introduction, III. Beauty, p.16)

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