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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Memoir of a Rural Sisyphus-Redux, Wasps


Memoir of a Rural Sisyphus-Redux

Bill Engleson


For a few years, I kept a diary of my inauguration into the Denman Community. This column, recently renamed Memoir of a Rural Sisyphus-Redux, will

extract a few of my observations from a dozen or more years ago and share them. Hopefully, they will have some modern times currency.


August 24, 2005

Wasps. I don’t really want to comment on them this year, but they demand vindication. Damn, they are ferocious this year. Every time I step outside, I fear I will be swarmed by the ill-tempered little buggers.

For example, most days I do a bit of parched plant watering. Of late, I know that these fierce, winged stingers will seek me out and intend me personal harm. Now it may be that inevitably I present a larger than usual target but that doesn’t account for their nasty temperament. They are full of wasp rage; trapped in their efficient albeit inadequate bodies, sensing perhaps a limited life span, intuiting that I own a couple of wasp-swatters and have planted at least three wasp traps of varying efficacy around the property. Sensing all this, they attack with bitter bug abandon.

The young red-haired kid has been visiting for the past couple of days. He was here last year in August as well. As he did then, he has donned his wasp-gladiator duds (shorts and swatter) and met them on the deck field of honor. The red-haired kid is a veritable killing machine. He seems to find excruciating pleasure in terminating wasps.

I do not discourage him. I am complicit in his slaughter, but I choose to ignore the moral issues. Once stung; twice shy; thrice deadly.

I am ethically and environmentally ambivalent. I wish it were not so. Evidence of my complicity is everywhere, piles of dead and dying wasps are strewn about the property. Last year I actually dug mass graves for them but this year I simply compost their remains.

I am unclear whether this gesture has raised me to a higher moral plane.

I fear that this whole affair may come back to haunt me, but I expect I will not stop until some greater force intervenes.

The red-haired kid will leave tomorrow. I will continue to swat occasionally but never with the skill, the intensity of this young red-headed killing machine.



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