Friday, September 18, 2009

Listening To The Grass Grow.....



It's been raining, raining, raining. Then raining some more. And cloudy, gray, and still. It's steady, not like a hurricane, for which we are grateful. We like it, because we need it, but we don't quite know what to do with ourselves. Not like in Ireland, where my poor sister despairs of ever seeing the sun again. Wettest summer in recorded history, she moaned to me last week. But life goes on. If they were to be discombobbled by a little rain [or a lot] the entire country would cease to function. Here, it's different. It feels as if we're in a state of suspended animation, as though the earth is holding its breath and standing on its tippy toes.

I went out, one recent morning, into the gray and breathless stillness. The air was warm and sultry, plump with moisture, and it wasn't raining. Yet. Even the birds were silent. But wait! What was that faint, indescribable sound? Not raindrops. They would sink soundlessly into the pine needles. It was the sound of life, I do believe. Green, pulsating life, energized by the generous soaking, pushing itself up through the dirt, reaching for the light. Since The Bean is back in college and we only see him on weekends, I'm in charge of keeping his "babies" alive! On any normal [dry and sunny] day, I can be seen staggering around the garden, a sloshing, heavy watering can in each quivering hand. I've been happy to let Mother Nature take over!

There have been enormous black butterflies about lately, so, ever the optimist,I had my camera along. But, unconcerned with my agenda, they refused to co-operate, fluttering away, staying, always, just out of reach.
I wandered around, plucked a weed here, a weed there. No shortage of weeds, rain or drought!

And then I came to this yellow clump.




Weeds for sure, but very pretty. Besides that growing sound, I could now hear the faint whirring of hundreds of insect wings. It didn't seem so quiet and still anymore! An airborne army of these beautiful black, white, red and blue winged creatures was industriously collecting whatever it is black, white, red and blue winged creatures collect from wild flowers.




They were also very partial to these scraggly daisies.






As was this unassuming fellow:




He was not so glamorous as they in his understated brown suit, but he was a much more co-operative subject. He sat quietly sipping from the flowers through his little sippy straw, while those dashing black fellows staggered and flitted from flower to flower like frat boys at a beer fest. I'd get the perfect shot lined up and, just as I clicked, they'd buzz off to another flower!

And then my nemesis* came to join the party.




Since he seemed less interested in stinging me than in burying his nose in the flowers, I stepped gingerly in and got a few shots of him.....


Today, at last, the sun is back. I'll be sloshing around with my buckets again soon. It's been a pleasant reprieve. And rainy weather is the best for sewing.... But that's another post entirely.



* Just to be sure I was using the right word, I checked with Merriam-Webster. I was given these two choices:

a.One that inflicts retribution and vengeance;

b.A formidable and usually victorious rival or opponent.

Obviously I nailed it.....

20 comments:

jkhenson said...

I love, love, loved today's post! The photos were wonderful! Your patience was rewarded! I've never seen insects like your first pictures captured! I always enjoy your writing, also! :) Thought of you this week: Didn't you pick apples in Ohio with your daughter's family? Coming to Ohio to pick apples anytime soon? :)

Ali Honey said...

Yep you nailed it. Great photos ! Ive never seen a butterfly quite like that one. I wonder if they go around asking, "Does My bum look red in this? "

riseoutofme said...

Handsome fellows .... Great photos ... obviously making good use of your time .... escaping from the claws of the psychotic feline??

Thimbleanna said...

What IS that black, blue, red and white creature? It's very pretty, but I've never seen one -- which isn't surprising -- I'm sure you have all manner of interesting insects and animals that I've never seen. Your imagery is beautiful Molly -- I especially love your use of the sippy straw!

Pauline said...

splendid photos! splendid words, too :)

raining sheep said...

What beautiful bugs... I actually love bugs. I wish we got some rain. It has been so dry here. I have been out running on the pathways and the dust is killer on my contact lenses. I love your photos, the first one is my fave.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

What a joy to read this and to see your gorgeous pictures! You are so incredibly talented artistically. You should send your photos to National Geographic or some other nature magazine - they're that good.

Does Rise need us to build her an ark? A fashionable one, of course.

Warty Mammal said...

Wow. To echo your other readers, what are those colorful insects? I've never seen their like.

It's a sad thing, but the crawl and sprawl of suburbia has killed off a great deal of insect life around here. Seeing a butterfly is a rarety, something to be celebrated.

Meggie said...

You do have some pretty, unusual butterflies over there!
Lovely to see the green, too.

Julie's journey said...

Beautiful photos as usual. We too are getting a bit of rain along with thunderstorms and hail each night. It is nice not having to worry about watering gardens and letting mother nature take over. Looks like another long dry hot summer here but spring is blooming.

brigette said...

OH. MY. GOSH.
molly... what on earth are those spectacular red/white/black insects? i've never seen them before.
wonderful photos.

StitchinByTheLake said...

Beautiful pictures Molly - you captured them perfectly. blessings, marlene

silfert said...

The little brown moth was my favorite, but I loved the whole shebang!

Eastcoastdweller said...

What a gorgeous post, visually and in the written word as well.

Our planet is so rich in life, wild and wonderful -- I'd rather wander for an hour in field or forest than be anywhere else!

Stomper Girl said...

Wow. That wasp looks MEAN!! Good photos of him and his insectly chums.

I wish we could get Ireland's rain here in Southern Australia. Apparently our bushfire season this year will be worse than last year and I just don't see how that is possible.

Mercurious said...

I heard that someone has coined the term "biophilia" to label that connection to the natural world that we all find necessary to happiness. You surely do have it in spades.

Can't tell you how much I enjoyed this post. And while I don't much like the heat of Florida, I sure do like its flora and fauna.

manysisters said...

Yikes! I hope you aren't allergic to any of those critters! Finally found the doc's name--Christoopher McClellan, a sports ortho guy. Hope all is well with you and your "Bean"--one armed guys still have fun!

rhubarbwhine said...

How startlingly gorgeous are your piccies today? GReat shots!

Isabelle said...

What a great camera you must have - not to say a great eye. And lots of spare time (she said enviously. But when I retire... ahhhh.... I too shal take pictures of butterflies and will flit around like them...)

Kacey said...

Okay, now you did it! I've been so busy this summer that I did not take the time to comment most places, but I do love your writing and your subjects. This one made me think of "Girl of the Limberlost" by Gene Stratton-Porter. I read it as a child and remembered about the butterflies up here along the Ohio/Indiana turnpikes areas. This led to going to Amazon.com and ordering a couple of books from way back then, because I want my grandkids to know the wonderful words I fell in love with as a child. (And I'll read them again at my advanced age, because of your butterfly post!)
Also, about your wasp up your old gardening pants post.....I once was stung by a wasp in the dead of Winter. I was sitting on dark brown carpeting to cut out a pattern and one of your very sleepy nemeses stung me while crawling about on the floor.
My husband once was stung by half a wasp. He smacked one on a curtain rod....it broke in half and the business end dropped down and nailed him in the bare chest. This all sounds like "Tales from the Crypt"...sort of spooky!