Thursday, June 29, 2017

End of June #phenology

The second, or third, or fourth?, wave of deer flies has hatched this past week or so, joined by what seem to be non-biting, teeny, tiny, gnats that fly up your nose and into your eyes while your hands are busy swatting at deer flies. The Freshwater Society's Weatherguide Calendar says we should watch next week "for big hatches of dragonflies and damselflies." That makes sense from a prey and predator cycle, but I wish the damselflies and dragonflies would cut it a little closer. The dogs and I are tired of being chased up the road by swarms of flies that aren't being harassed by their own predators.

late June, dragonflies
late June, dragonflies
Photo by J. Harrington

This seems to be a relatively quiet time of year or, better said, a time of year when much of the action is still hidden behind leafy curtains. Goslings and fawns are occasionally seen, but other "nestlings" won't show up at feeders until sometime next month. Fruit is growing but, other for than some berries, far from harvestable yet. Most waterfowl are molting their flight feathers and won't be airborne for awhile. Four species of frogs will be breeding in July: Eastern cricket, mink, Northern green and bullfrogs. Listen for them. All of which seems about right for the upcoming month of the Middle-of-Summer-Moon.

Characteristics of Life



A fifth of animals without backbones could be at risk of extinction, say scientists.
—BBC Nature News
Ask me if I speak for the snail and I will tell you
I speak for the snail.
                          speak of underneathedness
and the welcome of mosses,
                                        of life that springs up,
little lives that pull back and wait for a moment.

I speak for the damselfly, water skeet, mollusk,
the caterpillar, the beetle, the spider, the ant.
                                                        I speak
from the time before spinelessness was frowned upon.

Ask me if I speak for the moon jelly. I will tell you
                        one thing today and another tomorrow
        and I will be as consistent as anything alive
on this earth.

                        I move as the currents move, with the breezes.
What part of your nature drives you? You, in your cubicle
ought to understand me. I filter and filter and filter all day.

Ask me if I speak for the nautilus and I will be silent
as the nautilus shell on a shelf. I can be beautiful
and useless if that’s all you know to ask of me.

Ask me what I know of longing and I will speak of distances
        between meadows of night-blooming flowers.
                                                        I will speak
                        the impossible hope of the firefly.

                                                You with the candle
burning and only one chair at your table must understand
        such wordless desire.

                                To say it is mindless is missing the point.


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