Nature Within

Johnny bonded with nature this morning, weeding our flower beds like a good homeowner while I remained inside. We woke up later than planned, but I do believe I needed the sleep. Once awake, Johnny bounded outside to weed while I poured milk over cinnamon-raisin granola. That's a good snapshot of us: Johnny is up and alert within 20 minutes - I need about an hour (or two). We received our first issue of Organic Gardening and I've been eagerly flipping its pages planning the revival of our flower beds and dreaming of herbs on the back patio and tomatoes in the backyard. So I, too, will join in the weeding this week. We set out for a walk this afternoon, exiting the front door. I spotted a few wilted rose buds in need of deadheading which I plucked as we chose our desired walking route. Most of the roses were thriving and a few baby buds were peeking out of stems. The gardenias are blooming again which makes us both happy - the aroma is intoxicating. The sunshine beat down on our backs which felt divine at first, but then, way hot. We cut the walk short remembering why walking in the light of dusk is so nice.

You don't have to step outside to experience creation at our house. Since I've been sitting around recuperating, I realized we are housing an insect sanctuary of sorts. Nothing gross or out of control, but I've honestly been amazed by the variety of our critters. Big wolf spiders love our kitchen. Oddly, I'm not scared of spiders, but I killed the first two because I do not have a spider guide and I didn't want to risk a possible dangerous one such as the black widow. Another wolf spider crept into the living room last night as we lounged with lit beeswax candles. Johnny said, "Oh, that's just a wolf spider. They eat bad bugs." He let the spider live and I watched it gratefully scamper away. I've found several deceased spider-balls in the kitchen which I'm sure found their demise by our cats' paws. One day while washing dishes I saw another spider behind the mini-blinds, bobbing up and down at rapid speed, teasing me. We think a mama spider laid an egg sac somewhere in the kitchen or in the attic above. And since we had a congregation of minuscule ants on the kitchen counter, I bet those wolf spiders reunited for an ant feast. I suppose the wolf spiders can stay, but the ants had to go before they multiplied, so Johnny strategically hid deadly ant motels around the kitchen.

My next critter discovery was more serious for me personally. We all know I fear a bee's sting with irrational gusto and don't you go thinking that I handle wasps with any more maturity. When Johnny was in Missouri a few weeks ago, I found a baby wasp lurking on the inside of an upstairs window, next to our bookshelves in the "media room." Fearless Milo was ready to pounce having no idea he could be hurt. My mouth went dry, but I grabbed a Jan Karon hardback and killed that wasp dead. This past Sunday I found another baby wasp on the same window and I killed it with The Inferno of Dante. That one flew at me after I hit it once, I screamed, and killed it on the ground. After the second wasp-war I was more frantic, but Johnny opened the windows and doused the screens with wasp spray. I've been thinking I should order a few glass wasps to place around the house - to battle my fear - a sign of my growing bravery.

That's about it for the insect ecology inside of our home which is fairly normal, I think. A house is bound to have bugs and you deal with it, kill 'em, or call for an exterminator's aid. As long as they are not hostile creatures, it is interesting to discover them creeping quietly along, claiming they belong inside with the air conditioning. We have even more creatures right outside for entertainment, too. We've seen many a gecko defying gravity on our large windows. These drive Milo bonkers. He is determined to find a way to stick his paw through glass to maul those lizards. We also have birds teeming in our trees, on our lawn, and in our bushes, chirping songs all the day long. We have a Mourning Dove who laments on the pine tree right outside of our bedroom window every single morning. Harley is a natural bird-hunter; he puts his front paws on the windowsill, his ears flatten horizontally, and he makes a funny chirp-like sound. Sometimes he'll look as me as if to say, "Look! You gotta let me outside."

I don't really have a profound conclusion regarding these nature observations. I'm always looking at things, wondering, thinking, 'Why, look at that.' I spy on God's creatures - the tiniest to the tallest as they move and skitter about, live and play as He designed. Some are beautiful to me, others are hideous. I can logically embrace bees because I love honey and beeswax, but wasps seem uselessly frightening. But don't they all play a part around here? God is quite intentional though often the very plain answer is gauzy in mystery.

I just don't know. All of this internal and external nature made me climb the stairs to grab Pilgrim at Tinker Creek off my writing room bookshelves. I remember finishing that book long ago in my 20's thinking, 'I want to see.' I'd never read anyone describe the mating of luna moths or several other slices of science so poetically. That book taught me to see all that I see today when sometimes that's all there is.


Rochelle said...

Hi Jenni,

Your post reminded me of my few years in Georgia. Let's just say I never had a problem with spiders before. Now I shudder at the thought of them. You are much better than I. I couldn't handle the wolf spiders hanging around.
I'll make sure I never tell you my stories from Georgia.
I love being back in MN.

kimberly said...

There's nothing more soothing to me than the sound of birds chirpping and fluttering about in the backyard. I've become quite the bird watcher lately, getting excited when we have a new visitor to the birdfeeder. I'm glad you're enjoying the nature around you. I think God wants it that way... us appreciating the beauty that surrounds us in nature.

allison said...

Nature welds a double-edged sword, not always a Hallmark moment. We gathered wild blackberries at the edge of our yard two nights ago after dousing ourselves in bug spray to ward off chiggers. To no avail. I'm dotted with red spots that itch to the point of insanity. At what price fresh blackberries?

Jenni said...

Rochelle - Hi! I'm glad I don't know your spider stories.

Kimberly - Welcome to the birdwatching club, right Allison?

And Allison, fresh blackberries sound freaking amazing to me right now, but after hives, chigger bites do NOT. I'm so sorry you itch! Find that Eucerin anti-itch treatment lotion (link in my previous post)