The political world of nature

John Taylor: October 08, 20120 Comments

Didn’t see any paper wasps this year. Not complaining. Had the jet-spray bug killer handy. Didn’t get any lemons this year. Early season frost killed the blossoms. Not happy. Keeping that tree watered and healthy helped keep my mind off my wife's bout with MRSA a couple years back.

During the workday my mind frets about things like “sequestration” – a potential 2% cut in Medicare and other programs that would automatically kick in next year if Congress can’t agree on ways to reduce the nation’s deficit. That could cost nearly half a million people their jobs in the healthcare biz alone in 2013, with hospitals bearing the brunt.

The ants arrived late this year, and are persisting. Never factor them out. They always find a crack, a gateway to the pantry. The cockroaches were a total surprise, and relentless. First time I encountered them in 12 years in this house. They were way too friendly when I was growing up in a New York apartment building. No clue how they burrowed into the neighborhood. But, as potential nuclear war survivors, they're prolifically determined.

Never have figured out how you cut and expand at the same time. The feds are expanding healthcare services. Meanwhile, California has lopped $15 billion from health and social services programs in just the last three years – and billions more in cuts are in the offing particularly, as Gov. Brown says, if voters don’t approve Proposition 30 in November.

No shortage of spiders all year, and a plethora of snails last spring. Something about pausing to inspect nature allows you to heal a bit from dealing with the heels, backstabbers and loose-with-the-truthers in politics. I sure was glad one recent day that I walked around my car before backing out of the garage. There, right behind my tire was an amazing critter – an albino praying mantis. I’ve seen a handful of praying mantises in my life. This was the first albino.

The internet tells me one reason they're rare is that they’re weaker than their relatives, easier for predators to spot and unlikely to attract mates. I skedaddled my tiny visitor to the presumed safety of nearby bushes.  If ever there were a year to be rooting for the survival of an albino praying mantis, this one gets my vote.

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