Reflecting on life in nature

By Gus Bode

The State of Nature

I greatly valued my time away from campus during intersession. I found time to relate to family, take pastoral walks down rural pathways, and read a few chapters of the philosophy of Man and the natural history of civilization.

A lot of things happened, and I had time to reflect deeply into the nature of things.


These are some of the things that happened to me while I stayed at home in Steeleville last month.

My dad’s John Deere finally collapsed after 23 years of distinguished service. I wasn’t there when it happened, but he reported an enormous bang in the motor followed by a great plume of black smoke.

I washed a ton of dishes. One particular afternoon, a mouse fell into the sink compartment as I filled the opposite side with dishwater. At first, it scurried to little effect up the smooth walls. I could have crushed it easily, but I allowed it to escape unharmed and preferred to set a trap instead – there is less guilt that way.

I decided to comb the house for a trap. I could not find one so I stepped outdoors for a moment to catch my breath because the mouse had startled me.

Outdoors, an enormous bumblebee had settled near the flower garden. It appeared to be fiercely protective of the row of brightly colored petals, so I stepped cautiously back indoors.

At that point, I remembered that our dogs, Jake and Jill, needed their daily bread so I advanced off toward the shed where the beasts are caged. I heaved several pounds of Ol’ Roy brand dog food into an enormous plastic bowl from which they reluctantly ate.

Generally, I avoid the shed because it houses multitudes of furious millipedes, vengeful mosquitoes, malevolent spiders, obnoxious roaches, ankle-biting ants and those repulsive little pill bugs.


I will never forget the size of the wolf spider I destroyed in the shed last summer with a can of WD-40. That savage creature defended itself with singular honor, but ultimately it fell beneath the massive currents of engine lubricant.

I could try to describe that anomalous creature, but the thought of it still sends shivers crawling down my spine.

I played a lot of cards last month at my grandfather’s kitchen table. Under a 125 – Watt bulb, cigarettes smoldered as we played a cutthroat game called Hearts.

I learned that nothing is worse than misfortune at the card table. I used to be liable to an occasional explosive and passionate outburst, but I have made it a point of my game to remain calm during times of misfortune and even to accept misfortune with a sense of gratitude.

The State of Nature appears every other Wednesday. Brian is a senior in education. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Egyptian.