Thursday, August 12, 2010

Appreciating the Under-appreciated


Polistes, Paper Wasp
Red Wasp

I was stung by a wasp today. Now, not the wasp in the above picture, that wasp wasn't threatening me at all, but another that I never saw. There I was doing some simple gardening when, "Ouch!" And it set me to thinking.

Wasps are one of those creatures, which are very under-appreciated. In fact, in the list of "under-appreciated" creatures, they are up there pretty high with snakes, grasshoppers, and even spiders. The fact is, each of these serves a purpose in the "circle of life". They are predators, prey, or food source for something.

Grasshopper on Zinnia
Grasshopper on Zinnia

I think much of the fear associated with these creatures comes from a great misunderstanding of animal or insect behavior. For instance, I have been following the online blog of a group studying black bears. It turns out that bears are not the evil, angry mammals we have been taught. Instead, much of their behavior thought to be threatening is simply the bear's manner of protecting its territory from other bears. Frequently, the staff of the study group visits a wild mother bear and her cub, changing out GPS units, checking the mother's health, all very hands on, and without any tranquilizers. It has become part of the highlight of my day to read the stories and watch the videos.

Rat Snakes
Rat Snakes

And I hate to hear stories of someone who has killed a snake. I distinctly remember the last time I witnessed the killing of one, and I have truthfully regretted it ever since. There was really no reason. It wasn't venomous. All I had to do to avoid it was go indoors. Really, when I studied it closer, this snake was a beautiful reptile. There it was just living its life to the best of its ability, only concerned with food and shelter. When I took the time to throw out my preconceived prejudices, I found them instead to be fascinating creatures.

I even have to extend my vision now to spiders, and I really don't like spiders. But the more I observe them, the more interesting they become. Of course, I may never get over my dislike for having them ON me, but there is something to be said for their purpose on God's earth. What amazing predatory instincts they have!

Lynx Spider
Lynx Spider

I think it all boils down to balance - balance between human life, animal life, and insect life - and knowledge. We should all be willing to stop, think, and observe the things around us a bit more, no matter how fearsome they appear to be. Knowledge, after all, is power. And besides, you might learn something along the way. You might even change your opinion.

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Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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