Friday, September 18, 2009

The Big Sting of Little Things, A Short Essay

It is terrifying. The painful effect of little bugs. This one caught my eye while I was out front watering the vegetables. I plucked the leaf carefully bringing the specimen inside to show Lucy--our in house entomologist. I warded off her curious fingers long enough to snap this shot. Also, long enough to move my wrist to my face and scratch an itch. And long enough for my cheek to brush up against the caterpillar's prickly horn. The stinging lasted for about an hour, relieved only by applying ice.

Kevin, the tree guy, didn't beat around the bush. Ahem. He gave a straightforward diagnosis: the third of the Four Oaks had about a year left to live. The infestation in the trunk was too extensive to warrant costly treatments. He suggested we have her removed--limbs, trunk, and roots. We believe Kevin. He has a degree from Penn state in plant science and forestry management.

I'm sad. It rained all morning. I put my hood over my hairdo that took all morning to set--what? Not true--then walked up the drive to collect yesterday's mail. On my way back I poked a finger around the softened, diseased parts at the base of the tree. Three tiny, worm like insects wriggled, annoyed at the disturbance.

It's wonderful, in many ways, how "little things mean a lot". And it's terrifying. Particularly if the termites in your tree of life also go by the names neglect, criticism, bitterness, sarcasm, cynicism, or even envy.

The tree will leave an empty space after many many years of growth. But, its vacancy will let in light and make room for Jeff to install sprinklers which, combined--Light and Water--will create a lush, healthy lawn for the children to enjoy.


10 comments:

Liz Canaan Roberts said...

gorgeous photo, Jordan! hope it was worth the sting (it was for me).

Panooch said...

I called in the five little girls that I have in my house right now to examine this amazing picture.. . What the heck?! Why haven't we seen any of these little creatures in our yard? Jane is now going to be on the lookout.

Rebecca said...

Little things being terrifying. I love this thought. Well love because it is small things that really move or destroy the mountain! Thanks.

Oh. That is one amazing little creature. What is it and what will it become?

Kurt Knudsen said...

Crazy Caterpiller! Sorry you got stung

Trainer Momma said...

I appreciate your thoughts. So many times in our life we think all is OK, ignoring the termites that are destroying things from the inside out. I need to focus on the things that matter -- instead of the loud distractions of life.

Shawna B. said...

Beautifully written, just like always.

Jessica Womble said...

Whoa! I have never seen a catepillar quite like that. Beautiful picture and thoughts. I think we all need to focus on the little things more.

HM Baker said...

I enjoyed this post. You should really send your photos to National Geographic!

The Original Mangums said...

We could not figure out what that picture was -- amazing! I've also never seen one like it! Well said about the little things that can destroy, spiritually and physically! Love you

sara said...

Oh my goodness.

Delightful, delightful posts!!!! :)

Fun reading -thank you!