A colony of hundreds encircles my home, one so large as to dwarf by leaps and bounds the other four colonies within walking distance.
Gentle giants they are: beautiful, intimidating, leviathan creatures who have not a single malicious intent toward us simple apes.
And for every dozen males leaping to and fro in the air, every territorial critter chasing anything that moves, a much larger female tends to the matter at hand: mate and multiply.
The colonies stagger their lives across months, the first emerging from earthen slumber in June and the last in August, and each dies six to eight weeks later.
Yet in that small time they fill the world with beauty, with fear, with a spectacle no one can ignore. For as I’ve always said, during the summer months I don’t need a large dog to keep my home safe. I have gargantuan wasps instead!
Every hunter needs something to hunt, though. Next: The hunted.
[photos are of male eastern cicada-killer wasps (Sphecius speciosus); the last photo was intentionally cross-processed; and no, I still do not have a macro lens, so I have to make do with technique instead of equipment]