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In five words, write a story about this photograph.
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99 WORDS...AND A LITTLE BIT MORE
“They know we’re here. We don’t have much time before they come from the sky to get us. Some of us will make it, some won’t. The ones that do, need to procreate to make sure our breed lives. We can’t all stick together. I suggest some start moving now to the next planned target.”
The flock of crows lifted off the branches of the trees surrounding the field. Circling, hovering, licking their lips at the prospects of the meal. Their assault on the insects is too late. Competition drones toward them. Crop-dusters swoop in for the kill.
In 1949, our mom, Eileen (Clifford) Edall rececved books including The Consolidated Webster Encyclopedia Dictionary as part of a set given to WWII War Brides - a story for another time. This book became the natural go to place to learn about insects and other nature items our parents couldn't identify. In dad's case, that wasn't very often. All parts of the life cycle of any bugs, insects, crawly things, flying things our parents couldn't identify, out came the encyclopedia.
Growing up in a rural area the day did not pass without interaction with some kind of insect. There were the ones that were a nuisance - mosquitoes, noseeums, and flies. Those that needed a wide swath of respect included wasps and horseflies; and then there were the ones quite unique; the ones we liked to catch in jars like dragonflies, damselflies, and bumble bees. .
We even had our own names for some of them. Kind of a local dialect, you could say. Common knowledge by those who live in our area, the moniker might be used in general conversation or maybe an underlying insult. Those who knew the nickname, knew both meanings, recognized the inside joke, and, appreciating the potential humour.
Take the ordinary fly. Its nick name was Circle Fly. Derived from the image one gets seeing the inset around garbage piles or, better yet, a manure pile. There are always flies circling, landing, lifting off, repeat, repeat, repeat. Now imagine the comparison of that vision to a person who has a fly continually buzzing around their head, bothering them. The comment, “Can’t fool those circle flies,” was used at the expense of the unsuspecting. As time has evolved, lots of time, the remark comes from the lips every so often. The interesting thing is, there are very few in modern society that get that connotation unless they, too, have been born in my era and/or have rural roots.
On the other side of the spectrum, wasps were, and still are, given broad respect. The last thing needed while touring through the bush trails on a horse, was to disturb a wasp’s nest. A few things that might come from the resulting disruption - you’d get stung, you’d get stung and have a reaction, your horse would get stung and leave you in the dirt when it bucked you off and headed for home.
The wasp is not all doom and gloom. Their nests can be of use once they are abandoned, of course. Every so often, Dad would come across a vacated nest and take it home. I can hear you saying, “What the heck for? Was he nuts?” Actually, he was a very wise man in many areas of bush life. In the case of a wasp nest, he would peal several sheets from the outer layers. It was these sheets we carried with us in our saddle bags and kept around the house.
You see, when you are out on those bush trails - hiking or riding, a scratch or cut that won’t stop bleeding can become a problem. We slapped on a chunk of the nest, tied it in place with a piece of our shirt tail, we tore off for the job, and carried on. For whatever reason, and dad said it was the wasp’s spit, the sheet helps to coagulate the blood. It didn’t necessarily stop a major blood flow incident, but it did slow it down by thickening the blood as it oozed from the cut, giving you some much needed time to get to help.
Occasionally, I come across a nest that has been deserted. Usually it’s after an animal has had a meal, leaving it torn to pieces. Like dad, I will take the liberty of bringing a few small pieces home.
One more way to keep tradition and the old way of life alive.
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Ann Edall-Robson is an author and award-winning photographer
Airdrie Public Library
Animals Teach Lessons
Ann Edall Robson Photography
Barn Cat Buttons Series
Birds In My Canadian Backyard
Capturing Moments Others May Never Get To Experience.
CarrotRanch Flash Fiction Challenge
Fine Art America
From Our Home To Yours
New Born Calves
Quiet Spirits Column
Remington Portable Typewriter
Sharing The Moment
The Quiet Spirits
Thoughts On Life
Warm Spring Rain
Where Memories Are Made