The three of us stood in Brandy Creek, periodically moving from one rock perch to another, sampling each new combination of sun and dappled shade. While our daughter played, Jeff and I staved off numbed silence by letting the almost too cold mountain water keep our feet awake. We had just gotten turned down for another house, and this time it came with a heavy reality that demanded to be reckoned with. If there was ever a place we should have gotten, it was this one. Comparable to our current rent, perfect for our needs, good location, it was a true find. My whole team of friends gave me outstanding references, I have a longstanding, positive relationship with my landlord of 17 years…and it turned out I know the owner’s oldest and best friend, for fuck’s sake. But she rented to someone else, because when it comes down to it, we look like a risk on paper. It doesn’t matter how we have defeated the numbers with our resourcefulness, our DIY abilities, our thrift luck. Our income to rent ratio is too low. We know we can do it, because we have been. I bet you even know it too. But in the Bay Area, where there is a plethora of yuppies who want to live rural and/or farm and can afford to pay for it, it turns out we’re the muck that gets left on the bottom of the barrel.
So we grappled with the meaning of all this while the Indian Rhubarb thrummed it’s low bass chorus and Fern counted Water Striders. I lept across to a boulder next to a flowering plant that I don’t know, drawn by an incredible diversity of pollinators humming around its blooms. Native honeys as well as european passed all kinds of bumbles and wasps, big and small, barely avoiding each other like teens in the school hallway in the last 30 seconds before the bell. Some flew towards me, hovering around my face to discern if I was friend or foe, and then got back to business. But one creature grabbed my full awareness, as if she had literally taken it in her brilliant golden legs. I marveled at her agility and grace, the way she moved without hesitation and her absolutely fierce determination. This ferocity is what captivated me the most. To move with such confidence in the world, commanding ownership of one’s birthright, to not wait to be given the crown, but rather to simply inhabit the throne as Queen.
The feeling she evoked in my chest pierced through the heavy dampness like a fiery spear. I leaned in, closer and closer, watching her probe the flowers, the way the antennaes moved in first, how her fine sensory ability was utilized to its full extent. I thought of what lay before me, the way I have to step up my game, the need to hone in on my path to being lucrative, the saturnian business demands that I MUST employ, even though the very idea of it makes me want to crawl under my bed…and everything else fell away around me. It was just me and Queen Wasp. Watch me, she said. Know me. Become me.
When we got back to SF, I identified her as a Great Golden Digger Wasp. I found a favorite portrait of her, to meditate on whenever I need to remember her medicine.
I found many other beauties and thought I would share…
I could never express my gratitude enough for the presence of so many allies in the world. You never know how, or when, they might show up, nor what mask they will wear. But it is a guiding star in times of stuckness, or even despair, to find and remember kinship with all things. Life loses its suck and begins to shine with sacredness, and the path is so much friendlier when you know you are not alone.
(We forgot our camera on our trip up to Shasta this past weekend, which actually was a nice break from toting it around. So I’d like to give thanks to Colin Hutton for most of these photos, and the rest can be found here, at deviantart.