Amongst all the Christian saints that exist there really is only one that I really can identify with and believe in. That would be Saint Francis. I love the image of him in statuary, a monk in a garden with songbirds perched on his shoulders eating seeds out of his hands. There is something really quite gentle and special about someone of such faith being so kind as to attract and befriend animals. I’ve often said that how animals behave towards a person is one of the clearest indicators of what that person truly is. I think animals can sense the inherent goodness or lack thereof in human beings on some level that we are no longer a party to. If a dog avoids a person, perhaps there is a reason why, that sort of thing.
So, the saints are supposed to inspire the faithful to follow in their footsteps. I may not be a Christian, but I can appreciate the faith without getting hoovered into all it’s dogmatic thinking. Specifically speaking, this morning after I drove to work and parked my car in the parking lot in front of my building I looked at my rear-view mirror on the drivers side and noticed that I had a very tiny, very dangerous passenger who followed me to work, riding on my car. It was the business end of a yellowjacket. Apparently sometime during the night he struggled up to my side mirror and was trying to climb behind the mirror to get away from the chill in the air this morning as we had a light frost. I sat there for a minute or two and looked and he was not moving. So after I turned the car off I opened the door gently and closed it and blew a little stream of warm air at him to see if I could rouse him. He was alive. Very sluggish, but alive. He continued his trek to climb behind the mirror assembly and once he was there and safe I sat there talking to him. “I spared your life, so, when we meet again you won’t chase me and sting me, okay?” and I’d like to think that we’ve got a deal. Obviously bugs don’t speak english and you can’t make a deal like that with them, but a part of me did think that if there was some regard from nature that perhaps one good act, not stuffing a credit card into the slot to crush the bug but instead allowing him to seek refuge in my side mirror assembly might just be enough to earn me a “Get out of a yellowjacket sting” card from mother nature itself.
It’s a deal that I’ve made with all the creatures that surround me. If you are outside I will not kill you, but if you enter my home and you are either hazardous or frightful then your life is forfeit. This is specifically for the spiders that invade every spring and hide in the drains of the sink in my basement. They aren’t really hazardous to me, but to Scott they are little crawling chunks of pure nightmare and so, they die. The only thing I offer is that death is swift and complete, that there is a minimum of suffering. It may not be exactly Franciscan but it certainly beats dealing with a frightened partner gripping his chest trying to catch his breath.
I can only hope that the daily temperature rises enough, and the sun comes out. Once the sun hits the side of my car and that housing to the side mirror assembly, it should warm up in there quite quickly, as my car is a dark blue color and is apt to absorb heat than reflect it away. Perhaps when I get back out after quitting time I’ll check to see if my little yellowjacket friend got warm enough to fly away or if I have a lethal little buddy for the summer. I know that one yellowjacket is not lethal, in and of himself, but I have never been stung by any stinging insect so I always reserve a little latitude for them as I do not know for certain how my body will react to the toxins in their stings. It could just be an irritation or it could be anaphylactic shock. It’s really a toss of the dice and if you can avoid pissing off a stinging insect it’s in your best interest. Every time I see one I develop an intense case of the willies. I think it’s an instinctual response to avoiding the risk of a sting. Nothing makes me more keen to flee than the willies.