After a slow first five months, I'm back to blogging in earnest. In the forthcoming few months I plan to keep on tracking the blooming of wildflowers, the activities of bugs and reptiles and any other critters I'm quick enough or lucky enough to photograph, and to comment on ecological relationships. Since there is an increasing sense of ecological crisis among many people and more vigorous denial of such on the part of others, I will inevitably comment on the social and political dimensions of survival as I see them.
I am still an adjunct instructor in the English Department at Feather River College, but time permitting, I am available for hire as a nature guide in the region in and around Plumas County. A brochure describing my usual kinds of natural history adventures is in development. Email me c/o firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address and a statement of interests, and I'll send you a rough draft.
I have been teaching since 1965 and have recently joined the English Department as an Associate Faculty member at Feather River College. Recently taught Nature Literature in America and am currently teaching Interpersonal Communication and Basic Reading and Writing.
I mean that in a good way. I went out looking for flowers, Scarlet Fritillary in particular, but came across my first photogenic bug of the season and it made me very happy. This is the Checkered Clerid Beetle resting on a blossom of Umbrella Plant, mostly known locally as Indian Rhubarb.
A little further along, actually standing in a large patch of Fritillary (whose photos I'll post later) this huge Convergent Ladybird Beetle caught my eye. I've never seen one of these resting on Incense Cedar, so I assume that's all it was doing... resting. The whole time I was hiking with my wife and her dog, I had my Mom in mind. I got a call this morning saying she was fading fast. She's 94, and has been coherent and physically weaker and weaker, but apparently not uncomfortable, over the past several years. Now back at home, while posting these photos, my sister called again to say the Mom had passed away. My sister is a gerontologist and knows about these things, and she said it really seemed that Mom had decided her time had come and simply decided to "let go." Although there are tears in my eyes, I found comfort in hearing that. She was a great mom.
Another bug that makes me happy is the paper wasp. I don't like getting stung any more than the next person, but I've never been stung by one of these despite having spent many hours watching them close up. I hope to leave a legacy like this wasp some day, a paper product. I'll call mine a book. My last non-flower photo for the afternoon was this large Bluebelly lizard, a major bug eater.
The flowers and the bugs cannot get along without each other, and I can't get along without either. Immersing myself in the interconnectedness of all things is the greatest pleasure I know. Sharing it with others is also a great pleasure. Thanks for everything, Mom.