Saturday, July 27, 2013

June 2013: Bug Wedding or Showdown... on a lily pad

We got new Nikon binoculars and to my delight it proved as effective magnifying the bugs on the pond as it did the birds in the trees. That said, it took me awhile to adjust to how large small things can seem when they hop just 10 feet in front of you and you are looking at them with 8X magnification. At first glance I thought I was seeing crayfish prancing on top of one of the small pads in the big pond on our land.

I have seen crayfish prance in the throes of bluffing and fighting but never on such a small venue.

I realized that I wasn’t seeing crayfish rearing up waving their claws when I noticed two dragonflies on neighboring pads seemingly observing the bugs one-tenth their size.

Once while visiting a girlfriend’s family in Iowa, her father upped and took us all to Minneapolis to see Strindberg’s Dance of Death at the Guthrie Theater with its "thrust stage", almost in the round. Here I was almost 50 years later watching a dance of some sort in a sort of theatre in the round.

Two of the bugs began to jump up on each other while the other bugs stood riveted in place like the chorus in an opera (which I have never seen in the round, so perhaps I shouldn’t continue that metaphor.)

This being June, I soon thought I might be witnessing a wedding with the ceremonial groping descending into consummation of the marriage on the spot.

Anyway I offer the edited video that I took.

I should be taking what I saw seriously, and less dramatically. I am not sure if only two of the bugs fought or mated (really looks like a fight to me) and whether the bug that flew off at the end was one of them, and whether the bug that stepped over to that spot the flying bug vacated had been in the fray. I have done some directing in my day, and in the round, but never blocked a scene so poignant as this. Then again, I never had actors who could fly.

Even with the binoculars, I never got a good enough look at the bugs to hazard a guess as to what kind they are. However two week later I was paddling my kayak among the blooming water lilies in South Bay,

Apart from enjoying the beautiful flowers, and there are none more beautiful in my opinion, I observe the bugs on the flowers and pads. In June flies land on the pads, but by late July and August, the aphids take over.

When I went paddling on June 30, I had just talked to some people who had come up to the river for a memorial service. They shared the banter among family and friends about what to do with the deceased’s ashes. It was decided to spread them from a boat speeding down the middle the river channel. As gentle waves rocked the beautiful lilies and pads, I could think of no better place for my ashes, spread here and there on the hundreds of pads, careful not to inconvenience any aphids. (Waves whipped up by a good wind, a frequent occurrence, would soon cleanse the pads of my remains.)

What a reverie. Then I floated by some pads on which stood the same kind of bugs I saw on the smaller pads on the pond on my land. There was no drama. They were all alone.

So I got a good look at one and a good photo.

Still checking the guides to figure out what kind of bug it is.

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