I’ve always loved watching bugs, ever since I was a kid. One day in third grade, while my teacher was going on at length about contractions, I was watching a new butterfly break it’s way out of a chrysalis on the outside sill of the classroom window.
So I was pretty excited when I met my insect neighbor, Mrs. Mantis, and she didn’t seem to have any problem with my presence, even crawling up onto the water spigot while I was using it, waving her little forearm as if in greeting. I watched her gorge herself on meat bees that would otherwise have been mobbing my dogs, and I enjoyed watching as she daintily cleaned her face and hands after every meal.
I worried as I watched her struggle to lay her eggs, the weather turned mean almost overnight, and she couldn’t crawl up the slippery cement siding on our shack. So she laid her eggs at the bottom of the door. I’d seen them in stranger places, and I was glad she didn’t set her case in the door frame where it would get squashed.
And every time I approached our little shack, I’d look for that egg case.
Life is full of trials and tribulations, it’s funny which ones will set you off. This made me very sad.
And as I was wondering what might have happened, I noticed a little pile of mouse turds and some ground up junk.
Mice are something we’ve had to deal with ever since we bought this place. The trailer that was set up on the property seemed full of them, we’d clean it out and next time we’d come they’d be in it again. They loved the oven, which they stuffed with fiberglass insulation from the walls, a big pink nest.
Finally we sold that little trailer to an aficionado who tore it apart and restored it. We bought a newer trailer that had been properly maintained. The mice worked furiously to get in that trailer too, and when I found turds in the kitchen cabinets we realized – trailers are a sitting duck for mice.
So we sold that trailer and began work on our our shacks – the first was a tiny shed for the toilet, then a 10 x 12 for sleeping and cooking. It’s been easier to keep the mice out, but they’re always there, waiting. Whenever we aren’t there for more than a few days, somebody sets up housekeeping on the threshold of the cabin door, I always find a pile of turds there.
So I shouldn’t have been shocked – nature is so violent! Mice have to eat. I don’t know why I don’t feel the same empathy for the mice or the meat bees – maybe because they’ve been a nuisance. We’ve trapped mice and thrown them in the garbage without a whimper, and I have stood over the dog dishes with a flyswatter and racked up meat bees like trophies.
But sometimes you meet a bug or an animal or a human that seems to look right into your mind and touch something familiar. I’ll keep looking for that.