A Visit to McCormick's Creek State Park

I must have been about 10 or 11 when I made this visit with my family to a state park in Indiana:

I am in McCormick's Creek State Park. I am exploring with the aid of a map of the park, which shows all of the trails. I am wearing my usual summer outfit of blue jeans with no shirt or shoes. This park is one of my magic places. I have been examining a ledge above the stream that runs through the park. On the ledge I found a dusty area with little funnel shaped indentations, as though someone with football cleats had walked through it. As I watch, I see an ant fall into one of these funnels. As it tries to climb out something throws little bits of sand up onto it. This causes the sides of the funnel to give way and the ant slides back down to the bottom. After this happens a few times two pinchers reach out from the bottom, grab the ant, and drag it under the sand. I am astonished. I find ants and feed them to whatever it is that drags them under the sand. I feel a little bad as I watch how the ants struggle to escape. This must not be a happy time for them. But I do not feel bad enough to set aside my curiosity.

Actually I have been guilty of the death of a lot of other ants. We have a garden spider that builds her nest on the end of our porch. She is very beautiful. From time to time I go out there, grab one of the ants that can always be found crawling around on the floor of the porch, and feed it to the spider. As soon as she feels the ant wiggling around on her nest, she is on him. It’s fascinating to me how she wraps him up in a web just like we would wrap up a hunk of hamburger in wax paper to store it in the refrigerator.

I see a group of four people – two men and two women – enter the little clearing on the other side of the stream. One of the men signales to me. I come down to talk to them. All of them seem somewhat interested in me, but particularly this one man. I am not used to having adults interested in me. They know nothing about my world, and it has never occurred to me to try to tell them about it. Their world is hidden from my sight, but I don't mind because I have no particular interest in it. One day I will have to enter it, and I'm not sure that I like that. But this man seems interested in me and my world. So I ask him about himself. He tells me he's an entomologist and asks if I know what that means. I don't and he tells me that he studies insects at the university. I asked him how anybody could like insects. I have in mind mosquitoes and other pests. But he tells me that insects are very interesting. He seems almost hurt that I have discarded his whole area of interest as trivial or dull. I want to make it up to him. Then it occurs to me that I have something that I can show him. I tell them that I have discovered something really amazing up on the ledge on the other side of the stream. They follow me, hopping on the rocks across the stream, and climbing up the little hillside to the ledge. They watch as I feed ants to the pinchers below the sand. The entomologist tells me that these are antlions. I ask him about antlions, and he is able to tell me all about them. I think that this might be a man that I could learn from. Perhaps I could love him. Perhaps he could learn to love me as well. He seemed to like to look at me, and to hear me talk. Perhaps we could share our worlds.

But this is just a passing encounter.

They do not know how to find their way back to the parking area. I have my map with me and show them the path to take. The map takes him away from me.

We have no business together.

Still, he did seem to like looking at me.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Download from, Joomla templates by a4joomla