In the still-itchy aftermath of Friday’s yellow-jacket incident, it’s understandable that I gave an unusually wide berth to this basketball-sized hornets’ nest, which I spotted during yesterday’s dog-walk at Beaver Brook Falls. Baldfaced hornets, I read, “will usually attack if someone approaches within 3 feet of the nest.” Yikes. It seems nowhere is safe these days, with either yellow-jackets or hornets everywhere I look. Needless to say, I stayed more than 3 feet away from the above-pictured nest, relying on my camera’s zoom lens to capture an image from a safe distance.

That the Wild Outside is full of creatures that sting and bite should come as no surprise, given Nature’s reputation for being red in tooth and claw. At Beaver Brook Falls, there’s even a handy sign to warn visitors that whatever might happen here is their own responsibility, not something they can sue the City of Keene over. Given our increasingly litigious society, I guess it should come as no surprise that Nature herself merits a warning label, given Lawyers’ reputation for being even redder than Nature in tooth and claw. It’s a wild world out there, so watch your step. And if something should ever happen to you at Beaver Brook Falls, keep in mind that you were duly warned. This is Nature, people. Use it at your own risk.