We have a catch-and-release policy regarding insect life at the apartment. (And, although I have a feeling that my roommate disregards this policy when I’m not around to enforce it, it’s usually pretty well-observed. With the exception of earwigs, who get no mercy.) It’s exactly what you think–if we see a spider, for instance, out comes a glass and a magazine and we try to trap the spider, get it in the glass, and then release it, all without letting the spider touch us or get squished. It makes life exciting.

Years ago I read this poem and it stuck with me, popping into my mind every time I killed a spider, which is why I catch and release today. I don’t remember the source–I think Gary Snyder, via some Buddhist hippy quote collection–but I will find out tonight.

…fly away, tiny mite, even your life is precious.
I lift the book and blow you into the dazzling void.

Which of course echoes the Issa haiku from 200 years before:

Don’t kill him!
The fly wrings its hands,
Its feet.

(Yes, there is even a literary take on killing bugs.)