I’m not the kind of guy who gets misty eyed over cars, but I do feel a certain affection for this beast. It’s the first and only car I’ve ever owned- the only vehicle that’s hit 100 mph under my tutelage (cross-country, near Billings in 1998). I’ve blown tires in nine states- mostly on dirt roads. I’ve also gotten into multiple stare-downs and occasional shouting matches with assorted rural knuckle-draggers… carrying an Obama ’08 sticker and a ‘going to church no more makes you a Christian than going to the garage makes you a car’ decal will do that for you.
Reconciliation Ecology! I love this idea. It’s the notion that the ‘natural’ and ‘human’ worlds can be integrated… bringing a touch of the wild into places where we live.
The ‘green roof’ movement is one example. Every town and city has hectares of rooftop wasteland that can easily support plant-life, from potted tomatoes to trees. Tracts of former sterility functioning like a giant lung.
This concept is part of what drives the designs for my ceramic fountains. I’ve been building small planters into the forms, with an eye towards hosting fish in the main basins… perhaps allowing the entire structure to function as a quasi-biosphere.
A four-cylinder Ford doesn’t make a great shuttle. These days, I use the green machine mainly for moving weighty stuff (clay, retired Christmas trees, tables, etc.). Also- the thing is useless in the winter (rear wheel drive). Thus, it often sits forlorn from November through May. This year, I didn’t fire it up (with jumper cables) until it was time to move a couple boxes of pottery to the local farmers market.
It turned out that there was a thriving nest of yellowjackets humming away, pegged on to the passenger-side door.
David James Duncan wrote a short essay called ‘Yellowjacket’ in River Teeth. He begins…
WHAT I’VE DONE TO THEM, WITHOUT WAITING FOR AGGRESSION ON THEIR PART, IS STALK THEIR UNDERGROUND STRONGHOLDS BY NIGHT, POUR GASOLINE DOWN THROUGH THE ARCHITECTONIC HALLS AND NURSERY CHAMBERS, BURN THEIR SLEEPING BODIES TO CINDERS, DIG EVERY LAST CHAMBER OUT WITH A SHOVEL, GRIND THE PALE BLIND YOUNG (STILL, SOMEHOW, WRITING) INTO THE DIRT WITH MY HEEL AND MUTTER, ‘WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO YOU?
This about describes my mindset… exacerbated when I discovered six additional nests- including one in the tailgate and one inside the gas-cap.
Am I saying that I should have crafted a safe house on my truck door, and carried a roving cloud of hornets with me as I roved down the highway? Probably not, although I’d love to see whether the parking enforcers at the University of Idaho would at least leave me alone.
Perhaps a bee-hive in the carburetor, though….
(I'm afraid I hosed them out... but man, did I ever feel guilty. If they come back a third time, I may have to re-think my options).