Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wet Postcards and Wasp Stings: Part II

Bringing the harvest back to the barn. 

I keep a pad of sticky notes around to jot down brilliant lines and phrases as they occur to me. I generally stick them on the water cooler, meaning to write them down more permanently later, but the wind usually finds them first. Oh well, it was a nice thought.

The top note right now, however, never got tore off or even completed: "A yellow jacket buzzes in--." I had been composing a few lines to the echoes the insect made inside a Mason jar. The poem aborted, however, as I accidently put one of the yellow jacket's compatriots inside my mouth. It had landed to sample the honey which I like to eat by the spoonful straight out of the jar. I think I experienced a moment of bug-eyed horror as the little body thrashed around behind my teeth before spitting it out, poetry completely forgotten. I sprinted out to the meadow to find broad leaf plantain, imagining my entire mouth swelling up and cutting off my respiratory system as the yellow jacket's venom paralyzed my tongue. I can be a little bit of a hypochondriac.

Now, being stung on your tongue is not only very painful even when it doesn't cause any problems (thank goodness), it is also very humiliating to be caused so much pain and horror by such a tiny excuse for a wasp. My mouth and my ego hurt just writing about it.

The yellow jacket stings, and nature breaks in again through the apparently-impenetrable walls of my intellect and appreciation for beauty and gives me the finger before racing away. I'm too hobbled by the shock to follow. (Of course, I'm also blogging about it, so call me ironic or a liar if you'd like.)

I save the spider, but the raccoons occasionally pillage my trash and bang pots around at 3am. They do, however, leave the eggs on the shelf at the back of the stove, and this arrangement seems good for both of us. They get my rotten chicken after I forget to change the ice in the cooler, and I get... I'm not sure what I get. Living on the top of my hill is less like communing with creation than living in a sort of old mafia neighborhood. You pay the fees, turn a blind eye, and you tell yourself you're better for it when really it's the same buggers who are hitting you up who would be hitting you.

Mornings, the many little whorls in the needles around my cabin assure me that in the night I have been surrounded by a great encampment of little animals.

Friend or foe? No answer. I'll keep the door closed, thank you, even though the mice still get in and rustle around in the corners as soon as I turn off the lights.

A few summers ago, an intern woke up from an afternoon nap to realize that a possum had bedded down beside her in her sleeping back. I'm glad that hasn't happened to me. I'm not Annie Dillard desiring to be covered in locusts. No, that's stupid. My first mother was the queen and mother of creation, and I expect this my inheritance to keep a respectful distance. My subjects seem to have the same idea for the most part, staging occasional coups, of course, but what would a kingdom do without a little sedition with the morning coffee?

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