Monday, July 21, 2008

Kinky Dragonfly Sex


Okay, I know some of my family is saying that, and at least one other person. Made you look, didn't I?

In a land of swift change and intermittent catastrophes, my world with its tilts and wobbles seems to fit right in. We've had Katelyn graduate college -- yay, Katie! and prepare to move into the working world and carry on with the film project she helped with last year. People started summer vacation. And on the very first night of vacation (actually it was graduation night and we were on our way back home after the twins marshalled the event) our van broke down -- big time! -- and is just now repaired. That would be nearly 4 weeks without independent wheels. Which also messed royally with the plans for putting our old house up for sale and letting Michael carry out his summer plans and having the twins work on summer projects. If it couldn't be done here at home, it wasn't going to be done!

Le sigh, le sigh.

Life at the homestead has been bleak.

Of course, we did discover that the fauna here at Blackwater is as entertaining as the kaleidescope of flora that keeps blooming. It seems that we have a very healthy eco-system in the creek and lagoon in our back yard. We've been told this is evident from the number and variety of dragonflies we have zipping about. According to my husband, these beautiful 'bugs' spend only a couple weeks of their lives in the air and on the land. Most of their lifespan is underwater where, as nymphs, their diet includes fish. Pre-justice, I suppose, for the fly version that is later prey to those same fish. Anway, being normal healthy creatures of nature with biological clocks ticking furiously away, dragonflies seem to spend an inordinate amount of time making more dragonflies -- or eggs anyway. Hence the title of today's blog.

We have also found other prolific species doing their best at Blackwater to be, well, prolific. Sunfish, butterflies, bees, turtles, even the lizards. (My husband has a charming array of lizard porn!) We have hummingbirds, previously mentioned owls, and have discovered the presence -- from abandoned skins -- of a rather large dark-colored snake which we are hoping is of the non-venomous variety! We're afraid she's busy guarding eggs under our terrace. And I saw a squirrel making a nest the other day.

We've spent a lot of time with cameras in the back yard, documenting all this. Michael says he can only spend so much time out there, but it was he who went out in the dead of night to photograph the rushing waters. When it rains heavily, our creek rises, even floods. That is normal. However, this was the most dramatic we've seen, and getting a tour of it from our kids at midnight was admittedly awesome.

Some of Mike's photos follow:

At the edge of our Witch's Woods

Here the water is flowing OVER the causeway instead of through it.

That 'island' is a crape myrtle which is actually supposed to be on our shore.

The water is bubbling through a grate that usually lies 3 to 5 above the level of the water where it cascades to the so-called lower level.

Michael's feet underwater in what's supposed to be the backyard.

Honestly? I'm not even sure which part of the yard this is!

That's grass, not seaweed! And I'm not sayin' whose legs are whose!

One last view.

Amazingly, by next day, the water was back within the creekbanks, but there was debris all over. A willow oak on our 'island' that had been growing out over the lagoon finally gave it up and dropped into the water. Mike had to saw it off to pull it out, though. The grate over the causeway was filled up with leaves, pine needles, branches, and guck (that's a scientific word for black gooey stuff you'd really rather not know the name of). We even found a dozen dead fish, mostly sunfish, who'd been washed out of the creek then left high and dry when the waters receded.

The whole thing was fascinating in a scary sort of way. I kept thinking of people who endure real floods, who lose belongings, pictures, pets, loved ones, lives. The power of the water -- even in our microcosm -- was phenomenal. We who think we control events, that we can move mountains, build cranes to hoist buildings skyward, we who think we can do anything -- we are not really in control. We bide by the mercy of Nature, events, tides, and times. We live at the grace of everything that surrounds us. If we are believers, we feel we live by the grace of God.

Not, perhaps, terribly profound, but undeniably stirring.


dragonfly photo courtesy dk minnick
flood photos courtesy michael minnick