More summer wonders

Hi everyone,

I hope you had a good weekend. We got about a dozen drops of rain even though much of the day was overcast with clouds that looked like they had water to spare.

We spent much of the day in the pool. My niece Alexis learned to swim yesterday so she was a proud six-year-old. At one point I went to investigate some blooming bushes in our yard that attract hummingbirds, bees, bumblebees, wasps, dragonflies, flies, butterflies, and moths. It’s a regular microcosm of life.

As I stood there a few inches from the nearest small blossoms, a little skipper butterfly on a blossom suddenly began to quiver and shake its wings. When I leaned in still closer, I saw that a slender, two-inch long green mantis has just caught the skipper with it front legs and jaws. The mantis had been lying in wait upside down on one of the green limbs of the bush, nearly the same size and color as the limb.

The skipper died quickly and the mantis went right to work eating the head and then moving on to the thorax. I left it to its meal and when I returned ten minutes later, the mantis and its lunch were nowhere to be seen. It might have been right in front of me but those little hunters are hard to see, as the unfortunate skipper learned too late.

This summer I’ve been more aware than usual of how nature works on a matter of fact basis of success or failure, life or death. The goose at the foot of our yard failed to hatch her eggs. A robin who built a nest in the shrubs by our window lost her babies to a predator. I’ve watched ants drag off dead spiders and observed any number of other signs of how small creatures live and perish during their brief lives. Among the larger inhabitants of our community, two turtles have died on the street as well as a snake too smashed to identify. All three provided food for crows and a buzzard or two. Writers observe and there is never a day when I don’t spot something to awaken new wonder about the mysteries of life around Goose Lake.