Dribs and drabs

Things have a way of accelerating out of hand, like a job that’s unexpectedly replaced with another, dropping a whole encyclopedia’s worth of information to master on my desk and leaving very little time for snooping. Or like summer, when it’s suddenly August and the tupelo trees are turning traitor with their unseasonably orange leaves, and the birds start molting and moving, and fledging and leaving. Or like an Instagram feed that’s spontaneously 90% bugs, and you scratch your head trying to find out where all the purty sunsets went.


These are all phone photos, all poached from my Instagram. When I told folks this would be my Year of Insects, I had no idea what I got myself into. I am, to borrow an overused phrase, A Little Obsessed.

Usually when I share photos, I have an intention in mind: a story to tell, some beauty that inspires me, an amazing natural something to help us all fall a little more in love with the world around us. With the insects, I’ve at least been trying to identify them before I post, trying to tie on a tiny scrap of natural history, if I have one. But mostly, I’m just absolutely gobsmacked by the crazy species diversity I’m finding every time I go out, and I can’t help but throw the best photos wherever I can share them. Can you believe this one? And this one? Holy cow! Who knew?!

The insect life changes week to week, microhabitat to microhabitat. I can barely keep up with the rest of life, and I’m not even close to keeping up with the insects as they whirl away from me too fast for a photo. But when they pause, light on a flower for a heartbeat, spread their wings to gather the sun, I do too.


from the top: Common Buckeye Butterfly; a pair of American Copper Butterflies; Lesser Grapevine Looper Moth; Halloween Pennant Dragonfly; Giant Leopard Moth; a pair of mating meadowhawk dragonflies


I swear I’ve been hearing ghosts. The voices of spring peeper frogs keep creeping into my ears as the sun sets, later and later each day, but they’re nothing more than the echoes of my powerful imagination. I know logically the little frogs are not awake. Not for another few weeks yet. But as much as I’m enjoying the snow, and the promise of owls, and the company of ducks, a little bit of my heart craves the day when the snow melts and fills all the hollows, and the frogs start shouting in the trees to wake up spring.

Meanwhile, I stumbled on some photos from scouting trips that didn’t make it onto the blog last summer, so I thought I’d throw them up now. A little bit of a flashback for those of us for whom summer can’t come soon enough.

caterpillar butterfly flowers fairycups