Western conifer seed bug spiritual meaning


  • White pine tree has long tradition of military symbolism in Maine
  • Got Stink Bugs? Here’s How To Get Rid of Them
  • Stink ‘friends’ (not stink bugs)
  • Insect Animal Totems
  • Interview // “Always a Condition of Urgency”: A Conversation with Cleopatra Mathis
  • A Chance Encounter: The Case of a Western Conifer-Seed Bug Biting a Human
  • Is that a Stink bug or a Western Conifer Seed Bug in my house?
  • White pine tree has long tradition of military symbolism in Maine

    She taught the first dedicated poetry class I took, which profoundly focused my sense of the possibility of language and my own devotion to it. I have followed her life and writing for the past twenty years, concerned at times that I was emulating her, and at other times trying to rebel.

    But her influence has endured in my writing, and my gratitude for her teaching and the model of her life has only deepened. We conducted this conversation by phone in spring , just after the publication of her After the Body: New and Selected Poems , and in celebration of her retirement from Dartmouth College and the Creative Writing Program she founded there.

    Rachel Richardson: You were my first teacher, and I have of course been shaped by your mentorship, but in reading After the Body, your new and selected poems, I have been realizing just how much I have traced my own life onto your work.

    Your first book came out the year your daughter was born, which is also when my first book arrived. Many of your motherhood poems feel like a map for me, and reveal to me things I was doing subconsciously. And as a fairly autobiographical poet, I think that you can map the major events of my life from book to book.

    RR: One of the things that I find interesting, having read many of these books as they were written, is what it was like for you to put them together into a selected work. In that process of looking back at your whole arc, were there things that came as surprises to you in the way your poetry developed? CM: Putting the book together was overwhelming because I realized that limiting myself to pages or so meant leaving out a lot of poems.

    Rather than trying to choose all the best poems, I wanted a unified book, one that had some of the same thematic qualities and sense of progression as a single volume. I struggled with what to include until I had the title, which gave me a real purchase on how to proceed. I liked After the Body because of the various ways in which the phrase could be interpreted. In my first two books, my approach was elegiac: I was mourning specific bodies.

    The body versus the spirit developed slowly, the sense that the body could be failed by others, that the body itself would fail, and it would be my own body that would finally refuse me. So that play on the title became my approach. I did try for variation in selecting poems, especially if they were similar in style or intent. I found myself wishing that there was more levity in my work, more perspective.

    I think this was the first time I felt I was working completely alone in putting a book together. Putting this book together was hard, but now I think it was important to feel that isolation rather than listening to other people. Having to step away and evaluate my work from some distance made me see it differently. RR: Did you find that in your newer work things have fallen away that you used to rely on or care about? CM: I was surprised to realize that the image is not so important to me anymore.

    As a young poet, I was mostly in love with image, not the crafting of a poem, with attention to progression and meaning. The image is what first drew me to poetry. Writing has always been a condition of urgency for me, a way of surviving life events; I think finding language to illuminate the emotional experience was central.

    Certainly, the new poems do not rely on anything like that. In those first couple of books particularly, I was not thinking so much about what my reader needed: an attention to craft rather than evocative language.

    My concern with the more utilitarian sense of the language, its communication, probably has to do with being older. The bad part for me now is that I keep cutting and the poems shrink! You probably noticed that. RR: I did! CM: I found that the poems were short and many of their subjects repetitive. In terms of the language itself, which is a different concern, I needed to speak more urgently and to the point. I was thinking about what I was trying to get at in the tone and its variations, and how they affected the movement forward of the poem.

    But my interest in metaphor is more in service to the poem. When images appear, they are more spare and not necessarily metaphorical. Personally, I felt stripped away by the disease, and only wanted to present what is. I think I began to distrust any kind of adornment in the way of image because I saw it finally as being sentimental.

    At first, I even tried to resist writing about them. Obviously the reader is going to have sympathy or compassion for someone going through a lot of pain, but the poem itself does not exist for that purpose. How did you learn the things that you know about egrets and the western conifer seed bug and all of the other animals that populate your poems?

    What is your outdoor practice that brought you in such close contact with the world? CM: Observation is the key. I was a lonely child who spent hours outdoors, where I was always more comfortable. As far back as I remember I have been a person who identifies animals as having the same motivation and feelings that humans have.

    I even anthropomorphize plants. I think that if I had not been a teacher, I probably would have been a naturalist. I love every aspect of the natural world, even in the iciest winter. I cannot bear to see suffering, and most times have to avoid graphic photographs. Sometimes I find my conclusions are all wrong, sometimes I find wonderful things.

    If I use an animal, a bird, a plant, weed, whatever, I am preoccupied much of the time with accuracy. Nature is full of drama! A forlorn bluebird can occupy me for days—her nesting habits and travels from the same tree to tree, looking for her mate, who I realize has disappeared. Days pass, and she too finally disappears and when we realize it and clear the box of its four little blue eggs, I am full of speculation about what has happened. How could a poem not come out of that?

    The western conifer seed bug poem is a good example. I discovered that a little bug I kept seeing in my house in the wintertime just needed a place to remain semi-dormant through the coldest months. Finally, it happened that a woman wrote about the western conifer seed bug in the local paper, wondering what it was doing in our houses. When I looked it up, I was devastated that I had been putting them outside because I learned they come in needing shelter and they just hide out.

    At the same time this occurred, I was going through a divorce and was totally fixed on how I had done everything in the marriage to keep it safe, tried to look after every single thing, and for what?

    So much of what I see and read seems to resonate with events in my life. Whatever I discover seems to have some parallel, or corresponds to life events without my doing anything more than taking notice or being prompted to go look something up.

    RR: It feels like the difference between observing to gain understanding of yourself, as opposed to knowing what you want to say and then employing the image that will serve to support a point. CM: Right. I also love being wrong when I look these things up. They can change my poems by changing what I understand about what happened to me or reveal some other aspect of my experience.

    To write convincingly is so integral to the creative process that you need to be in a state of flux when you write. I went back to those poems and was thinking about how you approached that subject early in your work and then came back to it later in White Sea.

    And how do you update those kinds of thoughts as the conversation on race changes? My early poems bypassed her completely, though she was actually pivotal for me in terms of my attitude toward race. Instead, the poems eulogized people of color who I loved in my childhood, who I had taken for granted.

    He is my hardest critic when I try to write about how I grew up in north Louisiana. All that is complicated by the Greek issue, of being different from the white southerners in the town and therefore more aligned with the Black community.

    And yet when I say that, my son practically goes through the roof. To further complicate issues, when I did 23 and Me, I found out that there is northern and western African ancestry in my chart.

    There was no Native American in my chart. So how do I talk about this? How do I find my way into this material? How do I shape it? Are you intentionally updating these eulogies and odes you had written to the Black members of your community in your earlier work?

    Because close race-relations were prohibited at that time, her relationships with many Black people in town were secret, or at least not spoken of. When Black folks came to our house, they came to leave vegetables and fruit on the porch at night, never in the light of day.

    I took for granted that they were always there, taking care of me while my mother worked seven days a week as a waitress, but kept invisible. She also fought with her family about this, particularly one of her brothers. Reading about white privilege now, I see that this is exactly where prejudice comes from: the implicit, taken-for-granted superiority that whites silently assume.

    This acquiescent, passed-on role troubled me, but I went along with it even though I loved those women who took care of me. I paid no attention to my guilt: it was just the way things were. In my first two books, I could only admit and praise their crucial roles in my life. In later poems, I began to understand my complicit participation in a racist culture. Now I am more interested in exploring the effect of our relationships with so many Black families—how my mother rebelled against it in the small ways she could.

    In terms of craft, I suppose it is a change of tone—an uncertainty and willingness to acknowledge fault. I know these poems will be freer in form and ask more questions than my previous poems on the subject did.

    RR: I really admire that effort. The deepening investigation is so rich, and feels really important to do, on a personal as well as poetic level.

    How do your children feel about the poems about them, their childhood, and your parenting? He speaks very specifically about craft. But she feels her privacy is violated when I write about her.

    Got Stink Bugs? Here’s How To Get Rid of Them

    The other day, my friend Tonya dropped by with a cheesecake and said she could only stay for a few minutes. She had promised her friends she would join them at a peace rally and bring dessert. Instead, she sat on the deck with me and my husband for a couple of hours, eating cheesecake for dinner and sipping wine while we watched the birds along the river.

    Birds we saw included a bald eagle, a blue heron, a woodpecker, cormorants and mergansers, swallows, and finches. We talked about the abundance and she noted how sharp our eyesight had become since living in the wilderness. Well, I forget these things since our friendship is based on other areas of interest. Then she told us thanks to her miraculous iPhone and Google search bar about totems and how they connect to the animals we most often see.

    It reflects a need for those with this totem to follow their own innate wisdom and path of self-determination. You know what is best for you and should follow it, rather than the prompting of others. It seems that everywhere I go, there are Stink Bugs Pentatomidae Pentatoma Rufipes squaring off, staring me down, marching around defiantly. They are in my office, in my living room, and in my bedroom. I certainly hide from the world, using my work as a writer to camouflage the fact I am a hermit.

    My lovely home is on a dead-end road, with the river on one side, a mountain looming on the other, and a state forest surrounding it. Pay attention to your instincts about people and situations.

    Increased sensitivity to what is hidden and reading between the lines occurs with Stink Bug medicine and it teaches the balance of concealment and surfacing. The Stink Bug will guide in the proper use and balance of the positive and negative attributes of what is psychically sensed as well as what is physically sensed in your surroundings. Stink Bug medicine shows how to transform and shed what is no longer needed. There are five separate stages as insights are gained and growth is achieved.

    She can show the connections between seemingly separate unrelated events with heightened intuition. Pay attention to your instincts about people, situations and circumstances. She can demonstrate the order in which things are done, designating each level in the process of metamorphosis. Increased sensitivity to what is hidden and reading between the lines occurs with Stink Bug medicine. She can be a sharp communicator getting to the point.

    Are you being direct? She helps protect and shield energy and emotions when needed. She teaches the balance of concealment and surfacing. Are you stepping forward at work, school, community or relationships? Are you overloaded and need to step back? Odors have both attractant and repellent qualities.

    Stink Bug will guide in the proper use and balance of the positive and negative attributes of what is psychically sensed as well as what is physically sensed in your surroundings.

    The first 12 to 14 days will show which direction you should be going. I am a communication expert and even teach it sometimes at a local college. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Terms of Use.

    Ready for a Challenge? This process is one I use every semester with my college students, so I know it can kickstart your creativity and introduce structure to your writing schedule.

    I will not sell your information, or spam you. You can unsubscribe at anytime. Read my Privacy Policy here.

    Stink ‘friends’ (not stink bugs)

    CM: Putting the book together was overwhelming because I realized that limiting myself to pages or so meant leaving out a lot of poems. Rather than trying to choose all the best poems, I wanted a unified book, one that had some of the same thematic qualities and sense of progression as a single volume. I struggled with what to include until I had the title, which gave me a real purchase on how to proceed. I liked After the Body because of the various ways in which the phrase could be interpreted.

    In my first two books, my approach was elegiac: I was mourning specific bodies. The body versus the spirit developed slowly, the sense that the body could be failed by others, that the body itself would fail, and it would be my own body that would finally refuse me.

    So that play on the title became my approach. I did try for variation in selecting poems, especially if they were similar in style or intent. I found myself wishing that there was more levity in my work, more perspective. I think this was the first time I felt I was working completely alone in putting a book together. Putting this book together was hard, but now I think it was important to feel that isolation rather than listening to other people.

    Having to step away and evaluate my work from some distance made me see it differently. RR: Did you find that in your newer work things have fallen away that you used to rely on or care about?

    Insect Animal Totems

    CM: I was surprised to realize that the image is not so important to me anymore. As a young poet, I was mostly in love with image, not the crafting of a poem, with attention to progression and meaning. The image is what first drew me to poetry. Writing has always been a condition of urgency for me, a way of surviving life events; I think finding language to illuminate the emotional experience was central. Certainly, the new poems do not rely on anything like that.

    In those first couple of books particularly, I was not thinking so much about what my reader needed: an attention to craft rather than evocative language. My concern with the more utilitarian sense of the language, its communication, probably has to do with being older. The bad part for me now is that I keep cutting and the poems shrink! You probably noticed that.

    RR: I did! CM: I found that the poems were short and many of their subjects repetitive. In terms of the language itself, which is a different concern, I needed to speak more urgently and to the point. I was thinking about what I was trying to get at in the tone and its variations, and how they affected the movement forward of the poem.

    But my interest in metaphor is more in service to the poem. When images appear, they are more spare and not necessarily metaphorical.

    Interview // “Always a Condition of Urgency”: A Conversation with Cleopatra Mathis

    Personally, I felt stripped away by the disease, and only wanted to present what is. I think I began to distrust any kind of adornment in the way of image because I saw it finally as being sentimental. At first, I even tried to resist writing about them. Obviously the reader is going to have sympathy or compassion for someone going through a lot of pain, but the poem itself does not exist for that purpose.

    How did you learn the things that you know about egrets and the western conifer seed bug and all of the other animals that populate your poems? What is your outdoor practice that brought you in such close contact with the world?

    CM: Observation is the key. I was a lonely child who spent hours outdoors, where I was always more comfortable. As far back as I remember I have been a person who identifies animals as having the same motivation and feelings that humans have. I even anthropomorphize plants.

    A Chance Encounter: The Case of a Western Conifer-Seed Bug Biting a Human

    I think that if I had not been a teacher, I probably would have been a naturalist. I love every aspect of the natural world, even in the iciest winter. I cannot bear to see suffering, and most times have to avoid graphic photographs.

    Sometimes I find my conclusions are all wrong, sometimes I find wonderful things. If I use an animal, a bird, a plant, weed, whatever, I am preoccupied much of the time with accuracy. Nature is full of drama! A forlorn bluebird can occupy me for days—her nesting habits and travels from the same tree to tree, looking for her mate, who I realize has disappeared.

    Is that a Stink bug or a Western Conifer Seed Bug in my house?

    The rd Infantry fought on the Western Front from February to November oftaking part in the major campaigns of the U. On the shattered fields of France, the soldiers of the regiment yearned for the timbered landscapes of their home state and began to mark their equipment with a white pine tree. After the Armistice, the men of the regiment painted the insignia on their helmets as a point of pride. The three regiments of the state — the rd Infantry, the nd Field Artillery and the th Coast Artillery — received crests with the joining feature being the pine tree on top of each crest.

    Jonathan D. Bratten is the command historian of the Maine Army National Guard. No insecticide is registered for inside use on them. Most advice runs along the lines of preventing entry by sealing cracks around windows and doors.

    My husband once suggested that it might be easier to change my attitude toward the bugs than to successfully fortify our house. I once found a toy airplane where several bugs had even been enlisted as passengers. The chemical the conifer seed bugs release is hexanal, and it functions as an alarm pheromone to communicate the presence of a threat and to repel predators. We evict our bugs into the snow bank outside our window where they are immobilized by the cold and provide us entertainment as the birds discover them.

    Free birdfeed—now there is a positive spin.


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