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November 8, 2016

Not many know the muddauber, least of all the muddauber itself. This spindly insect, member of the flying and stinging family, abounds in my native plains and takes its name from its nest: a gradual accretion of mud, outwardly a clod, inwardly a series of parallel larvae flutes. Over the years, I have watched them, endlessly to and fro, slowly obliterate all manner of human implement, from tractor engines and raccoon hunting trophies to outdoor fans and circular saws, not through decay but through build-up. At times, I jest with my young sister that, should she stand still enough, the muddaubers will come for her too. So shall her trace disappear in time beneath layer after layer of water and earth.

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