July 10, 2017

Rain, and our world on the banks of this dry desert river (how can a river be dry?) is thrown into life and chatter and buzz, with moving, bristling, tickling bug legs. Within hours of the first real soaking of this Monsoon they’re out and looking for something–nectar, leaves to chew, human ear lobes and eye lids, mates. On the ground of my garden-in-progress comes trotting in frantic determination not just a beetle, but a Palo Verde Beetle, a monster, hooked, barbed, with long jaws famous for latching onto the fingers of people who actually have the nerve to pick one up. It seems though, that this fearsome-looking creature has got a worse rap than maybe it deserves, since it supposedly can be handled as safely as the much more endearing Tarantula. I’m not about to get to know either one of those two neighbors that intimately but here now is that giant Longhorn Beetle crawling past right at my feet and I can’t help but follow him around. He is searching in a last-call-when-everyone-looks-beautiful-closing-time agitation, and comes to a little round hole in this garden bed terrace above a side wash of the San Pedro … stops dead for a moment then runs around and around outside the lip of the hole, and around and around, and closes ever more in on the edge in a narrowing gyre. Then he throws it into reverse and backs the tip of his long abdomen into the hole and starts spinning, front legs pulling sideways to move his body in one direction around, picks up speed while pushing his be-hind in the more deeply, then, rises a little. This allows me to make out another buggish abdomen is thrusting ever upwards from down in that dim cave, and that he’s coupling into a she-beetle. He swirls around head outwards still, picking up speed as he’s pulled inside a little more through every rotation til just his head and his front legs and his pair of outrageously long antennae are all that’s left sticking out, then just those antennae, and he almost vanishes in this whirlpool of ecstasy I swear he looks at me and sings,

Here I go fallin’ down down down,
my mind is a blank,
my head is spinnin’ around and around as I go deep into The Funnel
of Love

One last glance, and he is gone, out of sight, whirled into the earth where he like a Coleopteric Blake experiences the world in a grain of sand, eternity in his hour of beetle existence.

What a way to go.

ya just can’t run
from the Funnel of Love
it’s bound to get you someday!

One thought on “July 10, 2017

  1. Editor’s note: Saguaro Juniperite Dick Henderson shared the following.

    Woody, that’s Wonderful! I can’t resist adding an observation based on much more limited experience. Once when I was camping out in lower Hot Springs Canyon, as twilight fell, the gray silence was broken by a loud, harsh, chattering buzz that grabbed my attention as into the yard flew a large, pure-black beetle. It raced right through at about knee level and ended its buzzing in a beat, to burrow into an earth bank close by. I was marveling at this historic experience, wondering at the singularity of purpose, when Lo, a second, identical-looking black beetle came buzzing in from the same direction, flying directly to the new burrow (guided I gather by some pheromonic radar). What struck me about it was the combination of those miserable wings, too small-appearing to support the size of their bearers, with the rapid clatter-noise (like a tiny old automobile missing some cylinders) and the unerring momentum both fliers had — you were glad you were not in the way of this progress. The Tunnel of Love sometimes runs in strange directions, not sure what kind of beetle those were….

    Dick

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