Posted on: Wednesday, May 27, 2015

We've got another thing coming undone.

I can hear the sound of destruction, a large cracking as trees are wrenched from the banks and pulled into the swollen river. I can watch my little forest nymphs running along the sidewalk, hair spangled with storm remnants, wet and shining in the green and gray around them. I can pause at sidewalks made impassible from makeshift rivers and transient waterfalls. Water has a way of claiming the season. Of claiming everything, really: bridges and fields, skies, insects, me. I have lost myself to this endless rainy season, traipsing through the woods every evening, chasing impossibilities: forever and on and forever.

Here they are barefooted and nimble, squishing through mud with abandon. Here are the ants seeking higher ground for their homes, holding little white eggs aloft. Here is a giant wolf spider drying itself off on a low part of the bridge. Minutes later that part is under water. The spider's inched just a bit higher.

Everything is washed out of hiding: toads and frogs and tiny pink worms. Everything is washed out of hiding: me. I have lost myself to escaping the four walls of my life, the trapped confines of my life. I have given myself to a world bursting at the seams.

The trees have burst into fragrant white blooms. The children are tired. Dark is falling fast and the fireflies are rising up and out. Let's go a little further, one says. Let's go home, says the other.

I want to say: Let's never ever go home. But the lightning is cracking and thunder is shaking everything. It's one long deep breath back. My chest is full-to-bursting with the long walk, a rattling that sounds like trees crashing down, rending the air into pieces. I'll let it out tomorrow when I have another chance at the wet, ruined world.

(Title comes from "Runaway" by The National.)

Posted on: Thursday, April 30, 2015

Unseen uglies and little lovelies.

It's a disgusting little thing, its lumpish white body and its long, twisting tail. Madeleine dug it up from a pool of water and brought it to us with a look of revulsion on her face. "Look at this weird thing," she says. "I wonder what it is."

We all stare and agree it's disgusting, but cool. I tell Madeleine that I want to make a video, so she holds it up to the light. She doesn't want to hold the squirmy thing for very long. Violet is whining about something in the background. It's not a magic nature moment by any stretch, and yet light filters through its nearly translucent skin, illuminating some dark mass of biology inside, and there's something ineffable about it, too. Looking under the surface of things to pull up something dark and unseen, but somehow lovely in its mystery.

I do a little research and find out that the disgusting thing is actually a drone fly larva. That little "tail" is really more like a snorkel, enabling what is essentially a water maggot to breathe in even the murkiest water conditions.

I dig a little deeper to see what the larva turns into and find out it grows into a pretty cool honeybee mimic. And that these little guys are important pollinators of crops and wildflowers. It turns out I actually took a photo of a grown drone fly during the same outing.
Beauty comes from ugly things pretty much all the time, right? You just have to seek it out.

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