Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thinking with my feet.

I purposely kicked a metaphorical hornet's nest today. It was thrilling. I cringed at first but shortly after, a feeling of exuberance prevailed. When I told my wife what I'd done, and asked whether she thought it was a big mistake, she offered up the proverbial advice "Well, you either go big or go home."

"Sometimes you have to do both." I thought.

That being so, I'm still glad I did it. Hornets, after all are pretty feisty things. They get offended far too easily. They are ever so critical and really, what is the thing they are most noted for? - just an annoying nasty sting. They deserve being kicked occasionally. At least then, you can give yourself a head start to get the hell out of there.

I don't like being surprised by hornets or people with hornet-like tendencies. Why do we put up with people who have biting stinging things to say for no apparent reason, or just because they have some personal thorax to grind. They should get a life.

Sometimes when I've been building a wall and gone off looking for more material in the woods, I've turned over a stone on the ground or picked up a rock from a pile and accidently disturbed some sting-happy nest-a-vespas. It takes very little for these 'apocritas' to decide to mobilize and go on the offensive. It's always a surprise attack, and from my spot on the wall, way over-reactionary.

Hornets, (or maybe they're 'ground wasps' - whatever) have got to learn to fit into the pattern, get along with others in real world and share their space with wallers and campers and hikers and people who happen to like the outdoors.

Meanwhile we will refuse to go around being too afraid to stir our coffee or roll in the autumn leaves or go rooting amongst hedgerows looking for stones. And we are going to continue to build walls too, and enjoy doing it regardless of the nay sayers who have nothing better to do than be critical.

My friend John Scott described these kind of people very aptly " They're like the little yellow hornets that insists on flying around your beer on an otherwise perfect saturday afternoon..."

Hornets and wasps, along with poison ivy and Allan Blocks need to all be shipped off somewhere far far away, a place not unlike hell, along the perimeters of which they can at least serve a useful purpose - warning people to stay away.


  1. There are a couple of things I really enjoy about your blog. Your comments are worth reading and I never know what is going to happen next. I don't know how you can keep producing something new so often but please keep it going if you can.

  2. In the warmer latitudes (New Mexico) I have learned to like the wasps since they kill the black widows. When I turn over a stone I look for the spiders first. A wasp sting won't ruin your day like a black widow bite. But we don't have ground yellow jackets(or whatever they are called) to speak of.

  3. Thanks Ches for your comments. You've aptly described something that would certainly ruin my day too, and much more dangerous, in your area at least , and I see can why there is no such expression- 'to kick the black widow's nest'.

    Anyway, I hope you can continue to avoid both types of insects (and people) when you're down there working with stone.

  4. If you kick a black widow's web, it will certainly stick to your foot. The widow's web is chaotic and ugly, no real pattern to speak of. And the widow herself is always nearby, usually in a crevice near the web. Sometimes you can just see her leg peeking out.

    We have so many black widows on our property, and I didn't know the hornets were enemies with them. Near every widow web I find the dregs of hundreds of cockroaches. So our deal is: live inside our house and you will be killed. Live anywhere else outside, and we will respect your space, unless you choose to live near kids' play areas (ie: on the swing set or trampoline).

    We do have ground yellow jackets. You discover them when you dare to sweep the corners of a porch. Then they swarm you. I had a swarm sting me over 80 times one day. Andrew said I looked like a cartoon ... a huge cloud of yellow jackets following me. I ended up in the shower -- they didn't like the shower -- to get away from them.

    I discovered I'm not allergic that day, but also my Dr. informed me that I might have used up my "lifetime immunity" to bee stings.