The eighteenth day

black swallowtail butterfly

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The second black swallowtail of the year.

A wonderful radio show on WERS about the urbanologist.

Weeds by the dozen: galansoga, a fireworkish burst of gone-to-seed grass, and more grasses–tall, Easter green, each with a little fist of white roots.

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Saturday Silflay

watership down

A robin pranced around the skullcap patch.

I cut a bouquet of hydrangeas and found a cricket, its antennae at least as long as its narrow, translucent body.

A mockingbird again snacked in the elderberry.

Half a dozen rabbits enjoying a good silflay throughout the gardens and slim meadows of the Fens.

Also, I don’t want to be too redundant, but I somehow woke, right around four thirty, without a bit of cricket, katydid, or conehead in my ear. Was it too cold? Or were they merely weary?

The velvet, breezy, bizarre din of wings

katydid

Common True Katydid, courtesy of bugguide.net.

In the day the cicadas continue to drone on, offering their squeaking moans at once and for hours, turning the neighborhood to hazy, humid white noise that surrounds and fills you completely–your ears, your clothes, your skin, your gut.

In the night, however, I keep waking, wondering about the racket pulsing around me. It takes a few seconds before I realize and remember: crickets. Fascinatingly loud, percussive and choral, they strew the night with rhythms. Their steady, nearly flute-like notes carry the background as the various katydid soloists rasp at the air. One common true katydid claws KAY TEE DID with his forewings, another one answers, KAY TEE DID, usually with a touch of overlap, a little bit higher or lower than the first. Their cousins, the sword-bearing coneheads, tst-tst-tst through the night, starting at twilight, and broad-winged bush katydids start their tzeet-tzeet quietly before letting them go unleashed, roaring loudly into the night. 

And now, lists.

squirrel

Marvelous squirrel on loan from Maximo Alaez

Wednesday: 

The blue heron billowing across the sky in the morning.

An osprey, flying above us as we greeted a friend just returned home. Never thought I’d see one of them in Boston, but there it was, its wings bending like elbows as it traveled toward the Arboretum or toward the sea. Apparently sightings of them aren’t quite so rare as I’d thought.

I picked several pounds of elderberries at the garden and in-between the branches found a mockingbird giving me a Look.

Thursday:

While brushing my teeth I crept into the kitchen to find the crazed squirrel that’s been trying to live indoors for the last few months. It scratched at the metal screen and hardly moved as I shooed and cussed it away. It finally left when I really got in its face, waving my toothbrush around like a fourth-rate wand.

Friday:

I thought that Moby Dick, my beloved snail of nearly two years, was dead, but then Matt pointed out that he/she wasn’t. As a reward for its liveliness I offered it a thick twig chartreuse with lichen.

Queens or Kings Necessary

Image

This. Because last year I was spending a large part of my time at home watching my little puppy of a monarch and its milkweed, and this summer I am looking at sometimes dried up milkweed flowers, hoping and praying for one of those bengal-striped beauties.

The Celery and the Swallowtail

A few weeks ago I was at work, sorting through trays of medicinal herbs to put out for sale, when I was aghast to find a speck of bird poop upon my lovage. (Lovage, if you’re unaware, is a close sister of celery and an herb that I came to know in France. I’m quite enamored of it, both ornamentally and edibly.)

I make some sweet love to lovage in an Alpine valley.

I went to blow away the speck when I suddenly realized it to be a speck with two heads and sixteen legs. Sixteen legs! Two heads!! I also noticed rather quickly the negative space that was gazing at me from where the two-headed monster had been working at my beloved lovage, cutting and devouring the tender, blessed green of the new, nearly lacy leaves.

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Rosy Maple Moth: Empress of the Universe

ImageMatt and I found one of these yesterday because we are vacationing in a Miyazaki film. (The set, if you’re curious, is at the foot of the Adirondacks’ Whiteface Mountain.) This divine creature spends its youth in maple canopies before transforming into an ephemeral adulthood, consisting of fluttering about, sending and receiving pheromones, coupling late in the evening, and returning to the maples to give way to a new generation of rosies.

Coming soon (truly): a butterfly story. Happy 4th!

Edit: My friend Evan wrote on facebook that this creature looks like it flew through a Marshmallow Peep. He then added that “this is like if Michaels craft store was hijacked by aliens.” Indeed. Add your own descriptions and hypotheses on the creation myth of this creature below!

Photo credit: The delightful tumblr of ceruleanpineapple

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