The Freedom of a Wasp

I think we have a wasp nest near our apartment. Every once in a while some lone wasp makes its way into our home and I watch it crawling on the window, trying to get out. The wasps I have seen don’t frantically or haphazardly run into the glass over and over again like the flies do. They are more calm, more methodical. And they don’t take a break to go meander lazily throughout the apartment like flies do. They stick to their search for freedom, dedicated. I don’t know how long they would continue in their quest, if they would die trying to try to free themselves or eventually abandon their attempts to escape. I don’t know because I always end up rescuing them. I grab a glass and a piece of paper, gently trap them and then release them on our balcony.

I paused today after one such rescue mission, watching a wasp reach its antennae and then its front legs into the open air in front of it. It quickly realized it had a free path and took flight into the crisp autumn day. I paused and wondered why I always chose to help them when so many would ignore or squish such a disliked insect. It’s not like it was a butterfly or a ladybug. It was a wasp. Infamous for stinging, for frightening children.

As I thought, I realized that I free them for two reasons. One, because of their poor reputation. Wasps are made out to be these horrible creatures with their only aim being to harm. But that specific little guy hadn’t hurt me and it only would have hurt me if it had felt threatened by me, as self defense. It’s not a beloved creature; It’s the bumblebee’s ugly cousin, and even the bumblebee can be loved despite its sting because of its role in honey production. But it’s still a living thing, it still has a role to play in our ecosystem, and it still is beautiful even if it isn’t in the same way a flower or a horse are beautiful.

And secondly, it pains me to watch such a small thing be trapped, captive. To be held back from the one things it wants. I felt in that a moment a great amount of affinity with that wasp. Because isn’t that what we all want? To move unhindered toward the thing we love, be it the sunshine or otherwise. Don’t we all get stuck behind the glass of insecurity, depression, anxiety, only wishing we could be on the other side where all the beautiful, sunny things are? Where the freedom is.

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The Freedom of a Wasp

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