Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pottery lures

Pottery pieces made by students in the Parks & Rec "Pottery in the Park" class I'm teaching the next two weeks are drying along two wooden benches on the front porch. Sculptural pieces, mugs, serving dishes, leaf bowls, and even a few hand-thrown pieces are at various stages of the drying process - some were already dry enough for the first firing.

A warm breeze blowing the wind chimes nearby, I surveyed the pottery pieces. As I lifted the driest works of art to carry them to the kiln, I noticed movement on the support of the cedar bench. Hard-at-work, two potter wasps were constructing a complex of pot-shaped mud nests for the little ones soon-to-be housed. How delightful and amusing to find their presence at just such a moment!

And yet, I have not always been delighted or amused by the presence of their cousins in the family Vespidae. While cutting transects across a heavily wooded (and poison-oak/ivy/sumac infested) site many summers ago, when I worked for an archaeology firm, I dug my shovel into not one, but three different yellow jacket nests. My shovel became an over-sized swatter and the crazy dance I did would have made anyone laugh. I also recall the year I pumped breast milk for my stubborn newborn, who split my nipples trying to nurse and was hard to keep awake while feeding. That summer, after plenty of months to get a routine for pumping, our house was invaded by ever-appearing paper wasps. I kept the vacuum at the ready until we saved enough to call an exterminator, whose vicious spray somehow deterred their appearance after that.

At the time, experiencing painful moments is not fun. I'm certain you, friend, have noticed the same thing. And yet, often, with time's steady roll, we can more easily see the strength or courage we've gained through such an experience - learning to harbor hope in even the most uncertain of situations.

May you feel a wave of hope today in whatever difficult situation that tramples through your life's journey.  And may the unknown positive possibilities in that situation present themselves, too.

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