Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Witness to One of Nature's Monumental Struggles...

It seemed like just the kind of afternoon to go on a three-mile hike on the Reedy Fork Trail when I got off of work, so that's what I did. Snagged a couple of caches and got in some good exercise. While on my way back, I heard the distinctive sound of a cicada chirping, as well as some furious disturbance in the nearby leaves. Going to check it out, I saw what appeared to be a strange, massive insect thrashing about wildly; turns out, however, it was two fairly massive insects engaged in a violent life-or-death struggle. One was the cicada I had heard; the other was a giant hornet, its legs wrapped around its prey, its stinger frantically trying to pierce the other's carapace.

Generally, my policy in such matters of nature is nonintervention. I have no fondness for insects of any variety, that I can tell you. However, in this case, it sounded for all the world like that cicada was screaming in agony. So, figuring what the hell, I gave one deft jab of my bamboo whacky stick, and the hornet fell away in two twitching pieces. The cicada continued to thrash for a few moments, then it shook itself like an annoyed, wet dog, and...for a second...it cocked its body as if it were looking at me and saying, "Dude, thanks." Then it wandered on off, seemingly little the worse for wear.

Of course, that poke of my whacky stick stood an equal chance of killing either or both. It was a the luck of the draw that spared the cicada. Frankly, I figured he was already a goner. After my recent experience with flying critters of the stinging variety, though, I'm kind of glad it went the way it did.

I reckon now the cicada has gone off to eat somebody's trees.

Little bastard.

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