Marabutas (Guêpe nest): A Self-Reflecting Universe
See how many reflective mirrors our planet throws up of itself- the womb, the marabunta nest – and how many man-made imitations – the hand-grenade, the exploding bomb – we throw down to destroy.
I chanced upon this jep-nest hanging like a delicate porcelain lantern in my orchard, well camouflaged among green navel orbs, for the navel orange, even when it’s ripe, can remain green.
Inside this universe, the culture is ordered, self-contained, compartmentalized, territorialized with a few soldiers walking the perimeter on their watch while newts sleep in their chambers. Workers forage for food, for leaves, for earth – building, sustaining resources. They scour outside their borders entering many lands, every unguarded treasure, a trove for plundered spoils to bring back home to strengthen and protect their empire, their home ground.
As a child, not having such insights, I swashed these jep-nests with long sticks from afar to throw them down, or loped projectiles at them to cut them from their stalks. They clung, built to resist the buffets of interfering cultures.
Not satisfied when they did not fall, I ventured closer with my stick. What joy to see a nation put on alarm! What a spectacular triumph to see everyone come out on the surface, crazed, headless! Refugees all, dangerous yet! Self-preserving in every sense, as they had a right to be, stinging mortally anyone in their path, as they sought safe haven to collect and build again. The survivors flew not far off to regroup at a later time.
Can I learn to co-exist with a different eco-system, a different culture in my front or backyard? Why tip-toe around the Eden I built – be cautious around my orange tree, which I planted for my sustenance, not to share, even those oranges that fall from the tree and that are useless to me, with another group, cultural poacher, in my opinion?
Why live in fear that one day I may forget that replicated me-s exist in my universe, and I may brush my head unawares against the orange (another replicated universal orb) and they will surge to sting me?
Why take the risk?
So far I have resisted ‘licking down’ this porcelain lantern hanging in my orchard.
But who knows? One day I may revert to childhood and stab the nest and run. When I’m sure they’re dead, I’ll come out to poke the ruins and stare in wonder at the last death throes of this magnificent culture that I splattered. After all, it was their fault.
© Cynthia James, September 2013
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