Saturday, June 29, 2013

29 June 2013

Sometimes being a resident in a facility where there is not much to do, other than the provided bingo and stringing plastic beads to make really cheap jewelry (which really brings me down), I keep to myself. This doesn't bother me so much as I am a fairly strong introvert. Don't make the mistake of confusing introvert with being shy, those two descriptors are not mutually interchangeable. As an introvert I can easily feel drained if I am around people too much, I get my recharge best when I am being alone. Extroverts are, of course, the opposite – I wouldn't expect them to understand. Such joy, what pleasure.

When I am alone I can think. My thoughts soar, I often find myself discovering something, which sets me to thinking, in this case remembering. This came up in me at the beginning of the month before last:

2 April 2013
12:00 PM

I was reading the NY Times today and was intrigued to come across this article: Click here The article was about new discoveries regarding dragonflies. It comes with an amazing video of a frog missing the mark trying to catch a dragonfly. My fancy was captured with the information that in ancient times dragonflies could be up to three feet across. I began to daydream about giant dragonflies. I have always had an affinity for dragonflies, they are so interesting to watch. Their wings flutter independently and seem almost fanciful in their action, how could anything ever fly like that?

Soon I was remembering a time in my garden several summers ago. It was a warm, hot, sticky summer afternoon, sometime in late July or August. I had come home from work and there were a few good hours of daylight left. My garden was situated close to some large coniferous trees which blocked the late afternoon sun, so I didn't have any fear of too much sun exposure. Even though it was a hot day I was in the mood for some good gardening labor, and considering the warm, humid atmosphere, I was even willing to perspire. It turned out that I had to exert very little effort to sweat a whole lot. Soon my T shirt was absolutely drenched. My shirt had become so sodden that it hung way down to nearly my knees. Every time I bent over to grasp a weed or scratch the earth, my shirt would sag almost to the ground, billowing beneath my belly. Perspiration would run across my face gathering at the lowest points on my continence, which was now my nose as it was pointing toward the ground. When I could no longer keep bent over in the working, sweat draining position, I would stand up. My shirt would immediately collapse against my body. Loaded with perspiration it would cling against my skin, reminding me of some sort of flexible cast the would automatically form to my torso every time I stood upright.

The little drop of sweat that had collected at my nose now gathered size and hung precariously for a long pendulous moment, then it would drop from the end of my nose making for the ground. I was amused to consider the phrase, “Salt of the earth”. Here I was contributing to the salting process just by gardening.

There was a routine developing in this late day extracurricular activity. Bend over, work the soil, perspire profusely exuding from my skin, which then drains across the contours of my features, collects at the lowest point. Stand up, more perspiration continues to flow, the small bead of salty liquid forms at the end of my nose, then after a moment of hesitation, drops to the ground.

After performing this rhythmical exercise several times and getting into the repetition of it, another feature became a part of the sequence. A deerfly soon discovered that I was an easy mark for its biting routine. It was that time of year when the deerflies make themselves known , all the time. And they can be relentless too. When I would go for a walk they would come along, unlike their pesky brethren, the mosquito, no walking speed was fast enough to leave them behind. They always were able to alight on the arms and other exposed skin areas almost at will. They did possess one fatal flaw. The would land and the before assuming the head down biting position, take a few seconds to assess where they were and what was about to happen.

This was the perfect time to smack them, although they seemed to have tough exoskeletons for they would often survive the initial smack. It was so distraughtning to have them emerge once I removed my hand to seem to shake themselves off and begin biting again. The trick, I soon learned was to not only smack them, but once the hand had them trapped against my skin beneath my hand, then to keep the hand pressed against the skin and to slide the hand along the skin thus rolling the insect under pressure. Then when I removed my hand this insect carnivore that was so intent on inflicting pain for its daily meal was all curled up unable to do its dastardly business. The husk would drop to the ground. I am not sure if the insects died immediately when I did this, or if they were still live but mangled, only to expire later. I decided not to worry about this as I didn't know.

In the garden my bobbing and ducking to work the garden produced a lot of sweat. I don't know if the deerfies were attracted to the fresh meat that I brought forth to the banquet, or if it was the sweat that drew them in. whatever it was the deerfly brigade had discovered me, meat on the hoof. Shortly after disappearing into the routine of bending and rising upright, the deerflies moved in. However they were orderly about their carnivorous habits. Rather than descend on me all at once in a feeding frenzy as the mosquitos do, showing no sense of propriety whatsoever, the deerflies only landed on me one at a time. And for some strange reason they seemed to only be drawn to that small, salt laden drop at the end of my nose – damnedest thing. Why the rest of my exposed skin was ignored I will never know. But those deerflies would come to the tip of my nose every time.

When one appeared just about ready to land, the familiar clatter of dragonfly wings announced that a dragonfly was about to enter the arena of my presence. The first time I was startled at the sequence of events, but no harm came to me. The sound of the dragonfly close by, never effecting a landing, only to reappear when the next deerfly appeared at my nose. Once again the deerfly was snatched from my nose, or just seconds before it could land. The dragonfly clattered off to await the next feeding.

The second time I was still delighted at the intricate timing and routine of the whole event. I continued to work, ducking down, sweating profusely, standing up, a deerfly would emerge from the surroundings, a dragonfly would noisily appear, the deerfly was snatched, no one was touched save the deerfly by the dragonfly. Once this new routine had fallen into place it continued for about thirty times with out let up.

I got a lot of gardening done, the deerfly population was significantly reduced and the dragonfly population was sufficiently fed, or maybe one of them who figured out how to hunt using a new kind of lure. I had the distinct feeling of really being a part of nature that afternoon. The wet T-shirt billowing out beneath me and the clammy cloying feeling didn't bother me at all. It was so fun to be a part of the choreography of insect catching using real insects. Somehow flyswatters and chemical repellants will never quite be the same after that.

It is always fun to be able to participate with nature.

I have no pictures of my own to show, he is a dragonfly from another blog post.
From Riverdaze, thanks Jim

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