So I was splitting firewood, and a section split in such a way as to expose this little critter over-wintering in a dead red oak tree trunk.
Look closely, and you'll see that a smooth bore was chewed a few inches into the tree, and then this larvae has grown from an egg that was laid in the bottom of the tunnel. The bore was carefully plugged with chunks of sawdust, sealing the infant insect till springtime, when I assume it would metamorphose into a winged (pronounced "wing'-ed") (hahaha!) creature, which would then pull away the sawdust plug and fly off to mate and chew a hole and lay an egg, which would then turn into a larvae just like this one!
Again, the great circle of life. Repeat this particular process by a billion insects of this species. Then multiply that by the broad spectrum of insects and animals. And plants. And then imagine rocks being split by frozen rainwater. Then remember the bacteria and fungi in the soil.
And then just stand back in awe. =)
Happy Thanksgiving, all you great people out there! Even if you don't celebrate this particular day, the meaning and feeling is universal.