Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bugs and bites and birds and bats and... #phenology

We need more bats and dragonflies and whatever else, swallows and swifts?, feeds on mosquitos and deer flies. The mosquitos have been biting my ears and back and arms, and yesterday the deer fly bites turned my dog SiSi's muzzle pink. Hydrogen peroxide seemed to help SiSi, but I can't get Afterbite to stay on the mosquito-bitten tops of my ears. I've noticed that we have an abundance of both the tiny mosquitoes and the larger one. As far as I know, deer flies only come in one size, that (gives) fits (to) all.

SiSi, without deer fly bites
SiSi, without deer fly bites
Photo by J. Harrington

Some of yellow goat's beard has already moved on from flowers to developed seed heads. The two whitetail does I noticed this morning have completed their transition from Winter's dun, grayish-tan pelage to Summer's reddish-gold. More and more wildflowers, especially ox-eye daisies and narrow-leaf hawksbeard are appearing along road sides. It's looking daily as if, by the time we get to this Summer's solstice on June 20, the season will be in full bloom already, rather than just starting. It'll probably be more than a month from now before we start to actually notice the days shortening. Meanwhile, whole new generations of critters will be growing during Summer time's 'easy livin'.

next Summer's yellow goat's beard
next Summer's yellow goat's beard
Photo by J. Harrington

Summer in a Small Town


By Tony Hoagland


Yes, the young mothers are beautiful,
with all the self-acceptance of exhaustion,
still dazed from their great outpouring,
pushing their strollers along the public river walk.

And the day is also beautiful—the replica 19th-century paddle-wheeler
perpetually moored at the city wharf
                with its glassed-in bar and grill
for the lunch-and-cocktail-seekers
who come for the Mark Twain Happy Hour
which lasts as long as the Mississippi.

This is the kind of town where the rush hour traffic halts
                to let three wild turkeys cross the road,
and when the high school music teacher retires
after thirty years

the movie marquee says, “Thanks Mr. Biddleman!”
and the whole town comes to hear
                the tuba solos of old students.

Summer, when the living is easy
and we store up pleasure in our bodies
like fat, like Eskimos,
for the coming season of privation.

All August the Ferris wheel will turn
                           in the little amusement park,
and screaming teenage girls will jump into the river
with their clothes on,
right next to the No Swimming sign.

Trying to cool the heat inside the small towns
                                               of their bodies,
for which they have no words;
obedient to the voice inside which tells them,
“Now. Steal Pleasure.”


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