I really did not expect it to make it through the last wind and snowstorm. After all, the mud-clad sphere was hanging by what appeared to be a thread from the tree overhanging the road. It's a large, fascinating structure obviously built by some very busy wasps or such insects.
It has been waving in the breeze from its lofty spot above GC&P Road since late last summer. From its size I imagine there were many workers involved in its creation. I've noticed a few similar nests or hives or whatever they are technically called, scattered about the countryside. Might have to call on Scott Shalaway for some more information, but for now I am content to monitor it throughout this sometimes brutal winter.
There is something to be said for insects, animals of the fields and humans who successfully and bravely endure the harshest of conditions. The recent arctic deep freeze that gripped the area provided another opportunity for us to display our ingenuity. Some of us managed to outsmart frozen waterlines and door locks. We learned to heed the warnings to layer ourselves like the Michelin Man. And with another round of frozen temperatures headed our way next week, perhaps we will take it all in stride.
It's no secret that a large segment of the Mountain State population has shown the rest of the world they can survive whatever is thrown at them.
The recent water crisis in nine counties in the middle and southern portions of the state, caused by a chemical spill into the Elk River, brought out the best in a lot of people. The residents of those nine counties could not turn on their faucets for anything. There was no cooking, bathing, teeth brushing, washing clothes or the simple act of enjoying a glass of tap water. While water officials raced to correct the problem, the residents of those communities held strong.
They did not wail and cry, but help came anyway from across the state because that's what West Virginians do for one another. Past disputes between counties or politicians were laid aside. Within a day of the chemical spill, this newspaper and other media outlets told local residents that collection sites for water and other needed items were being arranged at area churches and other facilities.
As a result, stores in Wheeling reported a rush of customers buying up bottled water, paper goods, baby formula and food products to send to their fellow Mountaineers downstate. The response was overwhelming, heartfelt and much appreciated, according to those arranging the water drives.
These acts of humanity are simply an extension of the Mountaineer creed. We may be wild but we are also definitely wonderful.
We humans can be buffeted and bruised by life's curve balls. Sometimes we may feel as though our lives are dangling by a thread. And then there is a knock on the door and a case of water or baby food appears. Hang in there.
Heather Ziegler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.