The Elegance of the Paper Wasp

June 8, 2012 § 3 Comments

I will not pretend that I have some great discovery here. Artists, poets, priests, and ordinary observers have over thousands upon thousands of years have commented on the power and beauty of the natural world. This is more a reminder to myself to be notice and allow myself to be astonished and renewed. This is a shot of a small nest of a colony of paper wasps. It was hanging near a bike path in Minneapolis. It was no larger than a grapefruit. I suppose the size is what made me notice. I was used to seeing the large cartoon sized types. I think at the start of the season, in the spring a queen starts the colony with a small nest and a few fertile eggs. She is joined later by her daughters who build the paper nest larger and larger. They chew wood to pulp, mixing it with the moisture in their mouths. Considering the design, I wonder about intelligence and art making. Those little lives had no thought or thoughts I wonder presume. They had no impulse to please an viewer or cash in on a market. Their need was just to survive as a species. None the less this paper nest is a very pleasing thing. If it had been shaped by human hands it would be worthy of praise and celebration. Intelligence I suppose in not always thoughtful. The artistic is not away deliberate. We can shape our objects by chance, accident and instinct are just a few of the chance occurrences that can also play a role in making object look the way they do.


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