Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Isn't S/he Lovely?

Last night's visitor clung to the splash back, just visible between hand soap and dish soap dispensers.
Jill says s/he was a wasp. Notice the waspish waist, she emailed.

Of course, I thought. Blinded by its surface, I never noticed, and I never wondered if s/he had a stinger.

Wasps are aggressive. I know that firsthand. Once, in Nashville years ago, I opened my front door at the top of rickety fire-escape stairs and was stung five to six times in the face and neck before I could scramble back down.

I didn't know wasps are so beautiful. The little bumps like embossed pebbles, the smiley face emerging above the joint of thorax and abdomen; the lemon yellow stripes; the Tiffany-glass-like amber wings; the stylish cropped bolero jacket like the kind Mother wore in the 1950s just covering the shoulder and upper arms; the graceful legs in yellow stockings though not cross-gartered like Malvolio's in Twelfth Night: isn't s/he lovely?

I thought s/he was dead at first until I saw her/him flutter a leg and try to crawl upwards. I cupped the little beauty in a glass and moved her/him outside to the deck, thinking the wasp wanted escape.

Probably not, Jill said. Probably was in the process of dying.

I have of late had too much of dying and death.

But witnessing the wasp's beauty reminds me of the fight of living and life.

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