Anything can happen in any direction; the world is more chomped than I'd dreamed.
Dillard learns that nature is dangerous during Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. There's beauty in nature--waterfalls and cocoons and exaltations of larks. There's also pain and death--rattlesnakes and floods and thunderstorms. Dillard wasn't expecting to find so much peril in all the wonder.
Tonight, my son and I discovered a wasp nest. Actually, it was more like a wasp condominium complex clinging to a shed in my parents' backyard. Fat angry tenants buzzing in and out. We stood and watched the show from a distance.
I kept telling my son, "Not too close, not too close." I explained to him that wasps were sort of like rattlesnakes. "There's venom in their stingers," I said. My son nodded and took a step back.
The shed is made of corrugated metal. It's been standing on the same patch of cement since I was a kid. The wasps kept charging in and out of the nest. I wanted to show my son something amazing. Something he wouldn't forget. I pulled him away from the shed.
"Watch this," I said.
I walked forward, got within a couple feet of the nest. I reached up, made a fist, slammed it against the metal wall of the shed several times, and ran.
The wasps boiled out of the nest in an fevered cloud. I could hear them buzzing like an overheated vacuum cleaner. My son watched with eyes as big as fists. They flooded and swarmed around their gray paper hideout. It wasn't a beautiful sight, but it was impressive. Like a forest fire or a sleeping grizzly. There was the danger and wonder.
Eventually, one of the wasps came diving toward us, and my son screamed like a girl and ran like hell. I wasn't far behind him. When I was a kid, I fell into a nest of yellow jackets. Got stung over twenty times. I remember feeling like I was on fire.
Before my son fell asleep tonight, I said to him, "Stay away from those wasps, okay?" He nodded and patted my cheek. I watched him drift into deep, sleeping breaths.
Saint Marty knows that nature can be beautiful and dangerous. Saint Marty's son knows it, too. There are rainbows and wasps everywhere.