The Plum Rain

posted in: Japan, Journal, Life In, Nature | 0
Hakoneyama Beeches
Beech trees along the ridge of the Hakone Mountains, 1993

Today definitely has the feel of the oncoming monsoon here. Cool and grey, the air is laden with potential precipitation. While most Japanese dislike this season, since everything gets covered in white mold and clothing is impossible to hang out to dry, I actually love it. It’s warm enough walk along with just a t-shirt, and cool enough to avoid the hair-plastering-to-your forehead perspiration that will undoubtedly follow next month. I love walking along the Nogawa River nearby (really just a glorified sewer now, as most Japanese rivers are) while drenched in warm rain and watching little egrets tiptoeing along the river bed and barn swallows cavorting in the grey, watery air. And outside the city the mountains are shrouded in mystery. As you make your way along the winding paths, the way ahead is hidden in the mists, and it is a matter of making your way to each succeeding vantage point to glimpse a new part of the whole canvas…

I’m glad to report that Mission: Angry Hornet was a success. Last night at about 2 a.m. I ventured out into the garden outside my apartment to relocate the hornet nest. I placed a flood lamp on the window sill near the drain pipe to which I would attach the nest and then, looping a length of thread, I caught up the horn of the nest and carried it gingerly over to the drain pipe. Mother Hornet was furious. Though she was lethargic, she still managed to rev her wings, causing the nest to spin around like a top at the end of the thread.When through with that, she viciously attacked the thread, trying to dislodge it.

Getting the thread to pass behind the drain pipe clamp proved to be quite a process, since I couldn’t get my fingers close enough to pull the thread through, lest I be stung by Mother Hornet. Luckily Mother Hornet’s instincts to remain with her nest proved strong enough to keep her from flying out toward the flood light. If she had she would have lost contact with the nest, which, in her mind, still existed near the old attachment point. In the dark I wouldn’t have been able to get her to find the nest again if I had replaced it where it was earlier.

I finally managed to pull the thread taut and the nest was fixed. One more twist of the thread and it was secure. I backed away as quietly as I could to let Mother Hornet settle down. She seemed disconcerted by the thread, but no longer angry.

This morning I went out to check on her. There she was dozing under the hanging nest, settled again with her little growing city.

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