By Humans, Nature

Over the course of the last few weeks I’ve worked from home from my front porch. My porch sits a story up off the ground, so right in the bottom leaf-height of the slim woods strip which lines the south side of my house.

I’ve had spiders slide down and tickle my neck. I’ve had a different spider walk across my keyboard and hang out there. A cricket walked around my mouse, desk, and computer for 20 minutes eagerly searching for something it couldn’t find.

And then there were the bees.

Friday morning I started my work day before the sun rose. As the sun crested the eastern side of my street it started beaming on me. I popped up an umbrella and a “shade sail” (aka a tent tarp which almost perfectly spans the eastern half of my porch). And within minutes I had a few disoriented bee buzzing near me.

A companion bee must have gone back to the hive and reported on some amazing flowers by my mailbox. The next crew went out to check out the flowers, but just as they were making their way there I was making my porch shade.

The bee buzzed into my shade sail – boing, boing boing – boinging long and often enough for me to say “Go around it! Just go to the side a bit and you can keep going!”. And eventually it did that — ever so slowing going “Okay I’ll go 1 ft this way. Good? No good.” inching its way foot-by-foot until it reached the edge and got around my obstruction.

How amazing! The bee was determined to follow the course and slowly figured out it needed to adjust its course to get where it was headed. I felt bad though since I clearly, unknowingly messed with nature. I can only imagine how confused that little bee was. “Did my friend give me bad directions?”

And then a few minutes later another popped onto the porch and got momentarily trapped by my contraptions. And then another. About 5 bees came thru – or tried to – just to discover the blocked path.

I marveled at this — and then the bees stopped coming. I imagine because bee #1 got back to the hive and passed along the news of the changed flight plans.

Also I had moved a potted flower from one side of my porch to the other. If any a bee was looking for it – bam! – “I messed with them so good. Take that little bitty bee.” I accidentally became a villain. It had me pondering a bee’s thoughts: “There’s supposed to be a flower right around here. Surely the flower can’t have moved.”

Which brings me to the adorable fawns in those woods and their mother. They have been grazing on our garden plants and my mailbox plants and very much aggravating me.

However, as I watched the mom graze one day I was awestruck. This was nature’s way of pruning!! Because of this deer the rose-of-sharons are going crazy taking over the woods. The deer pruned our pepper plant and it has come back wider and fuller than before.

I was cursing their destruction. Until I saw the beauty in it.

Isn’t nature amazing?

Then there was the squirrel. Not my favorite squirrel, Tiny Piney, but just some random gray squirrel I saw on my Thursday morning walk. I was entertained. Squirrels to me are fearless trapeze artists – swiftly walking tight ropes and swinging flawlessly from tree branch to new tree.

But this squirrel walked the tightrope of a thick uphill telephone so timidly. It made me somehow happy to know that sometimes squirrels get scared too.

It took a step, paused, step paused – so on for 50 feet. When it neared the final 10 feet it made a sprint for it. … I just really enjoyed how that seemed somehow human. Go hesitantly when you are unsure and have a ways to go, but when you see the finish line you gain enough confidence/”get this over with”-spirit that you just rush it. …(Or maybe that’s only me….)

There was a small praying mantis which walked my steps handrail. 3 inches total maybe if you count all the way to its antennae top.

There was a florescent blue fly which paused on my computer long enough for me to say “I need a picture of that!” then fly away before I could get the camera ready on my phone.

There were the countless video conferences where people were like “What are all those birds?” and I had to apologize/take credit for them then mute myself. …robins, cardinals, downey woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, chickadees, catbirds, sparrows, carolina wrens, mockingbirds…

There were carpenter ants which I should probably do something about as I saw them go under my house siding.

There was a paper wasp repeatedly seeking a new home in my porch siding.

There was a monarch visiting the milkweed in my mailbox flower garden.

There was a young buck resting in the shade of a tree.

There were groundhogs climbing up and down trees.

There were two rabbits we’ve named Nibbles and Chompers who roam the front yard together several times a day.

There was Tiny Piney chattering and leaping and when necessary chasing other squirrels away from his stash and territory. And most recently he’s been nibbling off maple leaves and carrying them to make his Winter’s nest.

So by humans, nature still flourishes. We may be aware of it. Or we may not. But if you do take a few moments to look you may just find yourself standing by nature, awestruck.

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