THE OUTDOOR NATURE CLUB OF HOUSTON, TEXAS
A Wasp Called
(Continued from page 1)
etaphysical abstraction, devoid of the
guile and the caprices of life, doing her
full duty, without fear or favor of man,
trusting Him only who has guided your
When we realize that the head of a
wasp is smaller than the button head by
which mighty man fastens his collar, and
with this speck of a head she must time
her operations with the seasons; that she
must not blunder except at the cost of
her life; that she must not tarry except
at the peril of her offspring—we are
amazed in contemplating her powers of
perception and finesse.
If she is capable of the intense concentration necessary to the accomplishment
of these things, and more, she has facility with this same small head to avoid
the devastating mental diffusion that inflict man and cause him sooner or later
to impair his fortune.
We are intrigued with the negative
I characteristics of the wasp as we are
enthused with her positive virtues. Her
faculties of restraint seem no less potent
than do her powers to achieve.
No fantastic diversions dissipate her
energies. She suffers no atrophy of personality through the deceptive conventions of society. She invites no jeopardy
of posterity through the negating complexes of her sex. She is free from the
blight of mere dogmas and creeds, free
from the stupidities of man that decree
Signs of Life Appear
Now the once cold and inanimate house
that had contained only tiny eggs and
embalmed spiders began to show signs
of life. In about two months the first
occupant was released from its prison
cell to go out into the world to perform
its duty, as had the other countless progenitors of its kind.
The other eggs were soon to evolve
nto white grubs. The grubs would then
egin to feed on the spiders and grow
fat in hastening to their chrysalis home,
where they would mould a wax coffin
around themselves to undergo their miraculous change.
Two days later, cell number two had
become the old homestead. Its occupant
had gone. Some days afterwards, cell
number three, likewise, had become an
empty tomb with the stone rolled away.
It was here I began to tamper with
life's forces and to explore the cells of
the remaining seven rooms, investigating
the various forms of life and the different stages of growth of the grub, from
one to several days ahead of what would
have been their natural birth. These
narrow confines disclosed the subtle processes evolved and bore mute evidences
of life in the making.
Some Curious Observations
It was noticed that the three young
wasps had made their exit from the same
side of their home. As far as I could
see, there was no good reason why one
end served this purpose any better than
the other. In examining the partially
developed young wasps, I observed that
their heads were without exception pointed in the same direction. Did Mother
Wasp leave printed directions in the cell ?
If so, how did these grubs know how to
read signs so young, and in the dark,
too? The open ends were also toward
the east. I wonder if this is significant?
The pale, almost colorless, lump of
matter that hatches from the egg and is
called larvae rapidly assumes shape and
advances to the pupal stage as a full-
grown grub. One definite end of life's
progress is now attained. The grub has
builded into itself from the body of the
spider all the life elements necessary to
a full-grown wasp. It has now finished
feeding and goes into its cellophane home
called the chrysalis, where one of the
most miraculous changes in all insect life
takes place. Here in this quiet abode its
body substances change into organisms
and assemble themselves into the finished parts.
Within a few days the skeleton outlines of a young wasp can be recognized.
The buds of antennas, wings, legs and
other body appurtenances now begin to
sprout and grow, something after the
plan of leaves and flowers growing upon
their stems. These small dot and streak
outlines assume patterns and put on
colors as growth continues and as the
body expands to permanent form.
Watch Nature's Expansion
I watched with minute care these expanding transformations from the egg
to the mature insect and the evolvement
of a wondrous head. I have tried to
comprehend the subtle process in the
manufacture of finished tools and instruments, that were adequate to their
needs. I have been charmed with the
fashioning of scintillating eyes of many
facets. I have thrilled to see matter
grow into lives sufficiently vital to cause
the being to love, and to sing, and to
mate, to define their life's purpose, to
make decisions, to arrive at their goal,
progressing in logical order to the end
that was decreed for them in the beginning.
In these processes I have sensed things
not found in entomological literature.
I have mistaken at times the solitude of
hibernation for the folds of death, only
to find in the plan an enfoldment of a
new and brighter life in transition.
Thus passed the days with my winsome visitor, from her song time of life
to its close. I saw her children undergo
change from the egg to the end of their
life's cycle. It has been a pleasant and
profitable journey. Many interesting
things have happened along the way.
Still the Mystery Remains
The primary causes that were hidden
then are not apparent now. The road to
their discovery seems as long and as endless as the road pointing backward to
their origin, the manifestations of the
law only serving to make us aware of
the profound mystery surrounding it all.
Man strives in vain to lift the somber
veil of the past. We long to look through
the morning mists which cloud in obscurity the beginning. We realize, however, that it is better so; that these
things are too fundamental, perhaps, to
trust to the false and defective reasonings of man; that they are too brilliant,
maybe, to risk with the corroding elements of time.
Little wasp, called the mud-dauber, we
are glad you came this way. You have
added vitally to things seen but not understood. You have inspired sentiment to
things sensed but not seen.
"El Jardin: Birds Sing in Texas," by
R. A. Selle, is the newest bird book, and
it is the first in its class for a section of
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A compilation from articles that have
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Caller, this book contains valuable notes
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popular style, "Blue Birds and Bluebonnets," "The Blackbirds' Carnival," "The
Pageant of Wild Ducks" and "The Texas
Roadrunner" suggest interesting chapters in the experience of a naturalist
rambling in the big woods and along the
Bound in "redbird red," it is an attractive gift volume. Price, $1.50. Pillot's