Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

And whatever else. . .





“. . .all that swim the paths of the sea”  Psalm 8

The man was a dreamer. He was, among other things, a great king, the self-proclaimed finest musician of his day, a friend to the fatherless, a giant-slayer, a famous philanderer, a schemer, a man who was more than occasionally moody, a fierce warrior, and, at best, a third-rate father. But he was also a dreamer. He had to be.

The proof is in verse eight. He doesn’t want to miss a thing in this quick catalogue of the inhabitants of the natural world, so he drops a kind of blank check—and all that swim in the paths of the seas.” Whatever I may have missed, he says, perhaps thinking of the leviathans he may never have spotted personally.

In a way, the reference is a kind of etc. Go ahead and name whatever you’d like right here, a fill-in-the-blank exercise. So I’ll pick up the opportunity, and introduce our neighborhood gang of cicada killer wasps.

Any insect blessed with a name like that—cicada killer wasps--almost had to grow up post-fall, you’d think, wouldn’t you? We’ve got ‘em, probably a dozen infesting the south side of the house, where they’ve decided to burrow under the sidewalk, creating in the process mounds of dirt I’ve almost got to shovel off the sidewalk.

What’s worse, they hover about, fat, thumb-sized horrors, something half hornet and half hummingbird. They really are evil-looking, enough to scare me and to petrify my granddaughter, who, when she left our house on Sunday, insisted that I catch them (and dispose of them) by the next week.

Cicada killer wasps nest in dirt and festoon those nests with—you guessed it—dead cicadas. It’s really something to behold. They’re incredible excavators. Inside of an hour one ferocious female had dug a mound of dirt the size of a baseball, pushing out soil with her head and front legs, tunneling in as far as ten inches (I didn’t measure).

I assume that she’s been hunting in the last 48 hours because eventually she’ll decorate her new apartment with dead cicadas. She kills them—hence, the name, of course—by zapping them with her sting while they’re flying. Somehow, she manages to lug the carcasses along through the air to the hovel she’s just dug, then shoehorn the zapped cicadas into the nest, where they will become provinder for her hatch.

Busy like you wouldn’t believe. It was the Sabbath, but that didn’t seem to hamper activities at this wasp village just a few steps from our deck. Digging and hunting and decorating went non-stop. They weren’t even nominally interested in the crowd who was watching.

Should I kill them? They scared the bejeebees out of my granddaughter, after all; and they can and will sting. They’re vicious-looking, really; she had every reason to wish them dead and gone.

It’s an absolutely amazing life these members of my community live. I’d never seen them before, and, quite frankly, I hope that next mating season they show up on the sunny side of someone else’s house. But their life-cycle is a wonder.

Really, it’s just as amazing as David says, isn’t it? This dominion thing puts the insecticide in my hands. I’m in charge. As minute as I am in the fingers of the cosmos spinner, he’s still given me the Sevin garden dust.

The whole equation is really beyond reason, beyond words.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps that's the way Yahweh feels about the US military exploits in the Mideast to secure "peace" and the US oil interests.