Thursday, May 28, 2015

To balance a dragonfly

The dragonfly squadrons were out patrolling yesterday. I drove under them so I couldn't tell what kind they were. I bet, even if I had been standing still and looking up, there's a good chance I still wouldn't have been able to tell you what we were looking at. I usually can tell the difference between a damselfly and a dragonfly but that's about it unless it's a sitting dragonfly and I've got my camera and field guide handy. I know their locomotion is different, but every time I see a dragonfly or two or three or..., I think of miniature "black helicopters."

Common Whitetail [female]?
Photo by J. Harrington

I'm glad for the way dragonflies consume lots of mosquitoes but also find them (dragonflies, not mosquitoes) basically interesting in a weird and wonder way. If we drained all the fields, wetlands and small ponds, we could maybe grow more field corn or soybeans at the expense of dragonflies and ducks and other wild things. That's not the kind of balance I want in this country. Do you? If we pay farmers to not grow crops on all their land, shouldn't we pay me to not build a sky-scraper on mine? That's a stretch, I know, but development and zoning are supposed to support the "best and highest use." We've spent too many years behaving as if that's always making the maximum amount of money and externalizing costs. We can do better. We need a system in which more costs are internalized and we subsidize people who can't afford food. I think we need to change much of our current system unless we can really slow down the effects of Anthropogenic Climate Disruption. Or, we can emulate Texas and see where that get's us.

Chalk-fronted Corporal (on left), Common Whitetail [female] (on right)

Photo by J. Harrington

Fly, Dragonfly!

By Joyce Sidman 

Water nymph, you have
climbed from the shallows to don
your dragon-colors.
Perched on a reed stem
all night, shedding your skin, you dry
your wings in moonlight.
Night melts into day.
Swift birds wait to snap you up.
Fly, dragonfly! Fly!

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Please be kind to each other while you can.