Thursday, June 8, 2017

Guarded by dragons / dragonflies #phenology

Several days ago, we marked, with old broken branches and bamboo sticks, the edge of an area we wanted to replant. It's way too steep to keep trying to mow. The sticks are set about three feet apart. Yesterday, and again this morning, many or all of the stick ends had a dragonfly perched on it. I'm not sure what, if anything, it means, but it's fascinating to see. I managed this picture of one of them.

dragonfly guarding a flower bed
dragonfly guarding a flower bed
Photo by J. Harrington

Last night we got a little rain. It left pine pollen rings on the patio and around the puddles in the driveway. It also watered the new plants near the dragonfly perches. I don't recall previously coming across information about the nutritional and medicinal uses of pine pollen. I'm afraid we've missed harvest potential for this year, but I'll add it to the list of natural events to watch for next Summer. Maybe over the coming Winter I'll try (d/c)rafting a story about past hoards of pine pollen being guarded by a thunder of dragons, whose fiery breath can also open some kinds of pine cones, so those seeds can grow. And maybe they were sleeping Winter naps, or under a Winter witches spell when humans first discovered theKensington Runestone. Winter is a time for story telling.

post-July 4th local milkweed
post-July 4th local milkweed
Photo by J. Harrington

A brief while ago, I saw what I think was a monarch butterfly flitting about the yard. I'm still looking forward to seeing if any of last Summer's butterfly plantings develop blossoms this year. Lots of local common milkweed is growing but no bloom on them yet either. Soon, perhaps, although a few years ago we didn't have milkweed flowers in bloom until after July 4th.

The Vanity of the Dragonfly

By Nancy Willard

The dragonfly at rest on the doorbell—
too weak to ring and glad of it,
but well mannered and cautious,
thinking it best to observe us quietly
before flying in, and who knows if he will find
the way out? Cautious of traps, this one.
A winged cross, plain, the body straight
as a thermometer, the old glass kind
that could kill us with mercury if our teeth
did not respect its brittle body. Slim as an eel
but a solitary glider, a pilot without bombs
or weapons, and wings clear and small as a wish
to see over our heads, to see the whole picture.
And when our gaze grazes over it and moves on,
the dragonfly changes its clothes,
sheds its old skin, shriveled like laundry,
and steps forth, polished black, with two
circles buttoned like epaulettes taking the last space
at the edge of its eyes.

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