I recently moved into a little paradise of an area in Central Texas called The Island, which is not actually an island, but a little piece of land that juts out into beautiful Lake Travis.
I’m only here for a month, and soaking in the nature every day.
This “island” is filled with wildlife. Deer are all over the place. I’ve heard there are copperhead snakes. Don’t sit down on the ground for too long, or you’ll get bit by little black ants.
The other day I was sitting on a rock overlooking the lake, and noticed a a scorpion coming towards me!
There are gorgeous red bird flying by, copperhead snakes (which CAN swim and ARE dangerous!), and I even saw a fox the other day.
But if you visit the island in the spring/summer season, you cannot avoid the wasps.
They are everywhere. They hang out on the rooftops, and in the trees….and on balconies.
I grew up with a fear of bees. And maybe, there is a good reason to be a little afraid of these creatures, as they can cause a lot of pain. I’m not sure if my fear came from watching horror movies like “The Swarm”, or the time when I accidentally stepped on a honey bee and screamed in pain from the sting.
So I wasn’t thrilled to see the wasps here on The Island!
But after a while, I realized something: I only saw the wasps one by one. And unlike honey bees and yellow jackets (a subspecies of wasps), they seem to have no interest at all in humans.
I sat on my balcony one day and just watched them.
One of them was going back and forth, landing in a little windowsill ledge, doing some work in there, and flying off again.
It was building a little nest! It worried me at first. But then I learned a little about these creatures, and had a lot more understanding.
Because I’ve been going into a self knowledge phase while I’m here, I went right to this thought: What can we learn from these wasps? Here are a few thoughts:
1. These wasps are SOLITARY. They spend their days gathering wood particles and building little homes, just for themselves. These are the females, and they lay a single egg in that little home. They are mostly alone for their lives. They have a purpose, and a mission. They do not think about being lonely, and they don’t get distracted- they are driven to fulfill their mission, and that is all.
2. They are not angry (even though they look a bit scary). These solitary wasps rarely sting humans. They don’t even defend their nests with stings. They go about their business- when a nest is destroyed, like a Zen Buddhist monk, they just start the process over again. They have patience and persistence.
3. They have a natural self defense system, that keeps peace in their community, without using aggression. They are peaceful and generally follow a non-aggression principle.
4. They serve an important role in the food chain- as well as getting rid of other pesty bugs like cicadas. So they have significance in their lives.
5. They don’t give up. I took out the nest one of them was building in a window one evening. By the next day at 12 noon, it was rebuilt already.
In this time living with wasps, I’ve also learned to lose my fears of them, and develop compassion!
We can learn a lot from the animal species all around us: lessons in purpose, mission, morality, and freedom are there, if you take the time to understand.