Safe At Last

We can all relax. CNN reports that the Entomological Society of American has decided that the insect Vespa mandarinia. will no longer be called “the murder hornet.” This unfortunate name was deemed unnecessarily fear-provoking and detrimental to rational discourse.

It will now be called the Northern Giant Hornet. I confess that putting the words “giant” and “hornet” together still gives me a slight chill. And the photo that accompanied the news item didn’t help. You can clearly see that the bug had to be run through with a rapier before the person in the photo would come anywhere near it.

This was done, we are left to assume, so that the photographer could avoid being murdered.


From The New Yorker


In general, I make a big deal about my Buddhist stoicism, my ability to accept the inevitability of change, and all that. When I have that working for me, it’s kind of my superpower. But it is not a shining coat of mail, this acceptance of mine. It’s more like that moth-eaten old blanket you keep in the trunk of the car for spreading on the ground at picnics, actually. A few polyester fibers stretched around a scattering of holes.

This morning is one of those where the holes are having their moment, but by the time the sun comes up and I’m on my second cup of coffee for the day, I’ll likely be fine. I find that night is the most vulnerable time. Anything and everything can come in, pull up a chair, and sit at my worktable. When that happens, mostly I sit there like Ebenezer Scrooge in a state of mild dread, waiting for what’s coming. An old regret … a sense of the losses that life inevitably brings … a fear for tomorrow … never know where these twilight hours will take me.

Having been through a few unpleasantnesses along this uneven and rocky path, I tell myself that I will be able to handle the next one, using what I’ve learned so far. But isn’t that just me, whistling in the dark?

Could it be that the next one will be exactly as it was with those that came before … me at the bottom of a hole with a child’s sand shovel in my hand, squinting up at the sun far above, and digging steps in the side of the pit to eventually get myself out and back to level ground?

Ah well, perhaps it is enough to be grateful that there are shovels in the world.

Life of Illusion, by Joe Walsh


From The New Yorker


Almost nine years ago I had an adventure where in the very early morning hours, as I was sitting in my La-Z-Boy and composing a blog entry, a skunk entered through a pet door, wandered around the house for ten minutes, and then left. As I watched from my chair. I must mention that our home is on a single level, and of only 1200 square feet in area, so the animal and I were in fairly close proximity.

It took me no time at all to decide that I didn’t want a repeat performance if I could avoid it, so the very next morning out I went to purchase a Havahart Trap at a local hardware store. These are devices to capture critters alive and unharmed so they can be transported to wherever they need transporting.

As I was studying how to bait and set it, I was struck by the thought: What if I was to be successful and catch it? What then? I would have a high-strung skunk in a wire cage with a short handle on it. Somehow that cage would need to be moved to a neutral location, and the cage door be opened. All while the animal was watching and perfectly capable of its unique form of retaliation. So I set the trap aside. For nine years. Until now.

About six months ago, we began experiencing a different sort of home invasion, this time by a large black and white cat who would drop by occasionally. He would enter through the pet door late at night, eat food that our own cats hadn’t finished, and then take his leave. Sometimes I would catch him at it, but apparently my blustering and waving my arms frantically weren’t enough to frighten him off permanently.

Until two nights ago it hadn’t physically bothered our own cats, and who cared if it stole a bit of food from time to time. But on this one particular evening he hurt Poco, biting our old friend so severely that he cried out when moved. After returning from a trip to the vet, I resolved to try to do … something, so I dragged out the Havahart, set it with a can of cat food, and this morning I have the invader in the cage.

When 0800 rolls around I will dial the Animal Control number and ask them to carry the trappee to the animal shelter. If the cat has an owner, they will find it there. If not, I hope that the shelter will find a proper home for the wanderer. It is a beautiful and resourceful creature, but an uneasy truce was broken when it hurt Poco. Not okay.

The whole episode makes me sad, though, in a way that I can’t seem to easily shake.

[BTW, the good news is that Poco is recovering nicely for an old gent of 15 years.]

Seems Like A Long Time, by Brewer and Shipley


One thought on “Safe At Last

  • A good read. I don’t think we need to extend “woke” to insect names. Whistling? Keep at it to inspire others. If you read me at all you would know I have running battles with some of Ma Nature’s creatures. Eco and Green myself, I draw the line when rabbits ignore the lush green field next door to decimate my veggies, grow weary of squirrels digging up flower pots to “plant”: walnuts to soften them up, and do not take kindly to chipmunks digging holes next to my foundation. This means war!


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