Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dragonflies, catbirds, and dogs

A couple of weeks ago in the garden at The Flamingo I saw a butterfly with muted orange, black-spotted fore wings and dark or gray hind wings clinging to the vines and soaking up the sun's rays. I've seen this kind before, so I assumed it would be easy to find in my field guide book or online. I still haven't found it, although it has to be a common species, nor have I seen it again.

When I've walked out here in the last couple of weeks I've sent a half dozen dragon- and damselflies darting to the left and right, back and forth. I seldom get to see them clearly, although I've caught a glimpse of metallic blue on one damselfly and metallic green on another. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only person who notices them as they fly about, and if the children appreciate these jewels on the wing as much as I do.

Last week I noticed a catbird trying to get a grip on a branching twig with its bill. The first time I recall seeing a catbird was in my cousin's yard. I heard the mewling of what sounded like a desperate cat, but when I looked all I could see was a long-tailed gray bird. I should not be surprised to see one here; they were pretty common in the wooded areas at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Sunday morning a thunderstorm with high winds and heavy rain drove in a man who'd taken his little dog for a walk. The walk turned into a run as sheets of rain came down and the sky flashed, and the little dog could hardly keep up with the master. When you see the sky turn green and feel the wind pick up, take it as a sign that Fluffy can find relief at the nearest lamp post or tree, and real "walkies" can be put off a while longer.

Now, after a sweltering day that threatened storms for much of the afternoon, the air has cooled and the sun is setting here even as it rise somewhere else, and thus ends my weekly respite from the weird and not-so-wonderful alternative reality.

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