We live in the country. When we decided to move here, a friend of Eric’s said “You realize you are moving next to the middle of nowhere.” Now it really isn’t that bad. Our main street has two traffic lights and one blinking yellow light. We have a couple of restaurants in town, two pizza joints, a gas station, and a corner market; we’re not that desolate.
Our home is surrounded by woods which lead into conservation areas. And that means mother nature with her wild critters and strange sounds at night. Several months after we moved in two female wild turkeys visited with their combined brood of 17 chicks. Talk about a woman having command over her kids! The females heard us make a noise in the house as we watched them from our family room window. A signal went out. Immediately the chicks disappeared in the tall grasses. Zip. Gone. The females gingerly walked around and when they determined all was safe, 17 little chicks popped straight up from the tall grasses and proceeded on their route. It was hillarious and fascinating.
We’ve had our share of deer (adults and fawns) visit the yard too. We do, afterall, have a wonderful salad bar for them to enjoy. In fact, I told Eric that he couldn’t leave the house straight away one morning because a fawn was feeding in a garden bed and mom was surveying the area. The sound of the garage door opening surely would’ve spooked them.
Periodically a coyote will wander through the yard (their dens are somewhere in the woods and we do hear them at night) and a fox is sighted here and there. And I can’t forget the owls and hawks and the heron that landed once in the neighborhood pond.
This year we’ve also been hosts to a burgeoning chimpmunk population, several mice and their offspring, and godparents to two nests full of robins. And the rabbits that showed up when I started reading Alice in Wonderland.
But this morning I observed something I’d never seen.
Over the weekend I noticed a hole in a crevice between two paver stones in our walkway. The hole was about 1/4″ in diameter; you couldn’t miss it. Aside the hole was a pile of crushed stone and sand. I showed it to Eric; we figured that a cicada or locust had crawled out and then we covered up the hole.
The next morning the hole was re-opened. Hmm, okay. This was curious.
I spent some time this morning weeding the garden beds. The hole was still in the crevice in the walkway. I pushed some of the sand back over the hole and continued weeding. And then it showed up. A wasp.
A wasp building a nest. That is what created this hole in the crevice. I watched as the wasp moved aside the crushed stone and sand and then dove down into the hole, brought up more sand and deposited it into the pile it had created. Fascinating. It did this for several minutes. Tiny ants that were in the vicinity were shooed away by the wasp. Even as I walked by it rose from the walkway and flew around. “This is my home” it seemed to say. “Stay back.” Yet it wasn’t aggressive. It didn’t zoom after me but just wanted to get its message across.
I was so impressed by this wasp’s diligence. It had found where it wanted to be and was determined to claim its territory. It was attentive to its space, carefully clearing away the stones. And it has persevered over the last few days, re-opening the hole every time we covered it.
It made me think about surviving as an artist with a small business. How we must be attentive to our craft, perfect our skills, and claiming a stake in the world. Every day we clear away little stones on the way to happiness. Sometimes we’re successful and sometimes someone pushes the dirt back over us. But we persevere, dust off the dirt, and keep on digging and moving forward.
This wasp is my hero today. Nature really is wonderful.