I want to sit on the back deck and read a book in the sunshine but I can't because of the carcass, once a roly-poly groundhog but now a rotting slab of flesh sitting in the grass just a few feet from the deck, probably deposited there by the dog. We've had some hot days so the odor is ripe and the flies abundant--in fact, a glance at the carcass reveals an area so thick with flies that it sparkles like an iridescent carpet. I suppose I could move the rotting carcass to a more distant location, maybe dump it over the cliff at the back of the yard, but that would require first finding the shovel and then getting close to the stench and the flies.
So I go to the bench in the front yard, which isn't nearly so comfortable as my nice chaise longue on the deck but has the advantage of not being surrounded by the buzzing flies and the stench of dead groundhog, but there I confront yet another mystery of nature: wasps scouring the worn parts of the wood, perhaps scraping up bits of building materials for their nests. I am generally unfazed by wasps fluttering nearby, but I draw the line at moving over so they can chomp at the bit of bench I happen to be occupying.
A carcass covered with flies, a bench being devoured by wasps--what sort of world do I inhabit? Close encounters with nature drew me to my little house in the not-so-big woods, but I do have boundaries. I don't mind snakes living under the front door, but the snakeskin we found above the ceiling tiles downstairs gave me the heebie-jeebies--and those gigantic spiders? Outdoors I'm happy to live and let live, but the minute they cross the threshold and come inside, I'm putting on my stomping shoes.
The back deck and front porch are liminal spaces, bits of indoors projecting into the exterior world. My chaise longue, my bench, my space--only the wasps can't seem to stop themselves from building nests in the plastic recesses beneath the lawn chairs, and the dog likes to drag her kills close to home where she can keep track of them.
Here's a plan: drag the chaise longue up by the herb gardens, where I can relax far from the stench, flies, and wasps and also get a good angle on the hummingbird feeder. It's a temporary solution but far better than spending such a gorgeous day indoors. At some point someone will have to address the dead groundhog situation, but who says that someone has to be me? Let he who misplaced the shovel wield it wisely.