July 17, 2013

Enough rain has fallen to have pleased the ants into hatching from underground chambers, and they rise in their winged millions into swirling black devils that the pickup smashes through every few yards. More mating hordes are scattered across the pastures, and along the unpaved Lane, rising, rising it seems, but only a few individuals at a time get to the top, clasp each other, and drop hard and fast down to the ground through the middle of the others who continue on the rise at the outer edges of the whirling column. Square dance moves, for insects.

On the leaves and stems of the desert mallows are a few of some of the most exquisite bugs I’ve ever seen, about the size of a Potato Bug, as beautiful as any piece of scarab jewelry. They are golden, and engraved with black lines in a design like a Yin Yang and until I can find more about them, I’ll call them not sow bugs, but Tao bugs.

Splayed out as if on a collector’s pin, a “Carolina Sphinx” moth is impaled on a barb on the top wire of the fence by the ephemeral stock tank. It is handsome, large, plain brown but with richly mottled hind wings, and six pairs of yellow spots run the length of its abdomen. How did it come to be there? Did that last blast of Monsoon wind that came before its rain hit nail that moth onto the fencewire? Shrikes are absent from here in the summer, but it sure looks like the work of one.