Monday, September 7, 2009

Every action has a consequence ...

A couple of days ago, we went for a walk in a state park. At the entrance to one of the trails a sign had been posted informing hikers to "bee" aware. It went on to say that at this time of year, some varieties of bees nest in or near the ground and if a hiker mistakenly steps on the nest or disturbs it, a sting is likely.

A little further down the trail, a cicada sang loudly ... it sounded like it was on the ground. I had never actually seen a cicada, so we searched around and sure enough ... there it was ... on the ground ... singing and moving around. Curious (and wanting a better look), we picked it up ... and when we did, a bee flew off. Evidently the bee had stung the cicada, hoping for a meal ... but in our curiosity, we interrupted the process. The bee didn't get his lunch and the cicada died for nothing.

Later, at home, we sat on the patio (a small space) and noticed all kinds of dramas taking place. Two hummingbirds were chasing each other around the feeder ... a wasp was trapped in a spider's web, struggling to get away as the spider patiently waited nearby ... a mother sparrow was feeding a youngster who was big enough to feed itself but still wanted "mom" to do it while nearby a chipmunk was busy stuffing his cheeks full of seeds ... an ant laboriously carried a shell from a sunflower seed to an unknown location. Little dramas were being played out everywhere.

Each of these rather small events made me realize, once again, that our actions make a difference. We hear about the big actions ... removing wolves from an area and upsetting the balance of animal life or introducing a foreign plant to an area only to have it choke out the native plants ... but we don't often hear, or think about the little actions. Things like stepping on a bee's nest and destroying their world ... or letting our curiosity interrupt the natural life/death cycle of a bee and cicada. We don't really think about how killing a bunch of wasps changes the whole scheme of things or spraying ants destroys their world.

Everything we do has a consequence! Living an environmentally friendly life means understanding that fact and thinking about the consequences of our actions ... all of our actions, both big and small. It's not just using natural cleansers and recycling ... it's about paying attention to what we destroy when we leave the footpath and walk on plants ... or what we change when we try to free a struggling bug in a spider's web.

Today is a holiday in the U.S. Many people will be out enjoying the last unofficial weekend of summer. We're going to go and have a picnic in the forest. But this time, I'll walk gently and think about my actions.

As always ... I would love to hear from you!


  1. what a beautiful thought ... thank you for sharing that ...

    we lead a life where we forget to stop and think about the consequences of what is our 'daily' actions .. your post is a gentle reminder that we need to sit back, take a deep breath and look around us :)

  2. Don't feel too bad... The bee (wasp?) probably wasn't eating the cicada, it was probably laying its egg in the cicada so that it's soon to hatch larva could eat the cicada from the inside out.

    That said, you're right in that we really should keep consequences in mind before we do more damage than we can repair.

  3. Thanks for your story!

    Watching nature can be a delightful form of meditation, and (to me at least) much more rewarding at least than classical meditation. Just sit comfortably and observe with all senses: watch, listen, smell, taste and feel the air. Nature amuses and educates us if we let it.

  4. Great thought, if we all...

    I already wrote down in my post, it might be inline with your thought about the consequence,"Perubahan Iklim: Mengapa Kita Harus Memahaminya ? (bahasa) or " Climate Change: Why must we understand ?" and at point 6, in english,:

    " Decisions and actions that affect the current environment and climate will affect the long term across generations. A better understanding of the complex linkages of ecosystems and climate would encourage us to be more careful in every decision and action. "

    Thank you for sharing....

  5. Oh I love this post! I try to be as considerate as I can to all the little creatures while I'm gardening because they are what makes it the most worthwhile to me.

    I have to admit I did rescue a hornet from a spider's web in the greenhouse yesterday. It sounded so distressed that I just had to 'play God' and set it free, denying the poor spider of a long-awaited meal no doubt!

  6. We humans are so engrossed in our lives that we rarely pay attention to the way nature works, unfortunately. Living out in the country like I do, I get lessons daily on the natural order of things. Often heartbreaking, sometimes amusing. It's all part of the cycle of life, that each sentient being here experiences.

    Loved this post....

  7. Great post - and so very true.

  8. hi friend,
    nice thought keep it up.

  9. Really great Post!
    Sometimes, I too take a moment to notice the little things in the world...and sometimes, I try to trade shoes and become the bee or the birds, just to see what I'd do or how my world would be affected by's definately an eye opener.

    Be well.

  10. I've got an in ground hornets nest in my front yard about 3 feet from the side walk where children sometimes play. I'm afraid I'm going to have to get rid of the hornets nest.