Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blue Bowl

Once, on a rain-spitting afternoon in January, I sat in St. John-at-Hampstead, England, and felt as if I were inside a Wedgwood bowl or vase. Crisp white moldings -- ribbed and carved -- delineated soft walls of peachy ecru and blue, lines and curves, roundels and arches, all combined into the softness of a spring day with leaves newly green. Outside, I found the graveyard somber, sodden, but inside the building sang.

Every so often, for reasons I don't fully understand, I remember that church where I sat just once, and I return in my mind's eye to that space of calm and beauty. 

Today, that happened when I saw this Lady's Slipper, barely blushing pink, in the woods at Lake Cheston.



And I thought of that St. John again later when I looked up through the last of the pink dogwood blooms into the blue bowl of sky.



At times like these, I am happy.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Firsts

After much rain
first sun
first snake sunning
first fresh new female Fragile Forktail
first Lady's Slipper blossom
first exploded gall fungus
first Lancet Clubtail
first fresh new male Fragile Forktail
first climb before the Blue Corporal's first flight
first exhibit of this year's bird bones.
Firsts are beautiful.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Fraidy Cat

makes a decent foot warmer on a dark and stormy day.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Note for My Neighbor

This is just to say
that I miss
your girls knocking 
on my door,
asking for eggs
or giving me cookies,
and I miss their laughter,
stray balls in the yard,
your husband's comments
("Robley, you look like
Teddy Roosevelt"),
and your kindness.
But today in rain
I stole a little sunshine
under your azaleas,
native to this place
as you and yours are.
All is well: may it be well
there where you are too.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Follow-up Rooting

There's also rooting around in the dirt, something practiced by my grandmother, my mother, my deceased sister-in-law, and my niece. With spectacular results.

That's another form of rooting I've never taken up, perhaps because of my truly aching back from early adulthood. But I sure enjoy what others help the earth make and then what they make of the results.

I am thinking of flowers tonight because my niece made a lot of high school students happy at their prom with corsages. Not just any old carnations, mind you, but beautiful mini-floral-works-of-art.



May they and she have happy dreams tonight. I root for them all and for the generosity of spirit that can make the earth sing.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rooting

Today, some of my Facebook friends have posted about the football draft. I think it is happening -- now, or soon, or sometime. They root for teams I cannot name.

Some folks feel rooted in a place. Take New Orleanians, for example. I lived in their city for more than twenty years, but never felt rooted there. I disliked the climate, the topography, the heat and humidity, the lazy acceptance of poverty and crime. I loved the students, school, architecture, and bookstores, but only as someone passing through, on the wind and not in the ground.

When I first lived in New Orleans, Alex Hailey's Roots appeared on television, a transcendent experience in shared viewing and history. Suddenly, people understood that slaves were up-rooted and that African Americans like Hailey are rooted here, but with long feelers working their way back to ancestral homes. How could a slave ever have felt rooted? And isn't it a miracle that so many of their descendants do.

I have long roots in the "here" of the nation, extending all the way back into mid-16th-century Maryland, and the "here" of the Deep South, pushing back into early 18th-century Mississippi and Alabama. I even have roots in Tennessee, the "here" where I now live.

But am I rooted? I'm not sure. 

I feel rooted to Birmingham, where I was raised, but I've lived the vast majority of my life elsewhere. I suppose I feel rooted to my family, but it morphs, losing and adding people who don't have the long view or same history.

On the eve of my thirtieth birthday, my wise neighbor, a kind of surrogate mother, assured me that no longer being counted young ("Trust no one over 30") was a meaningless fear. She said, "I still feel like I'm 16," and she was in her 50s. 

Maybe that's what rootedness is: the sense of myself within myself that grows within and reaches without. Like this fruit of a tree, I'm still sending out feelers to ground myself.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Grit

Rain.

Again.

And falling temperatures.

Again.

But the dragonflies keep coming, or at least they try to emerge.

This is what Odonate grit looks like.









Common Baskettails

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Light Show

It's hard to photograph even a willing subject when it remains in shadow. This teeny butterfly (a Hairstreak of some kind, I think) paused long on the pebbled path to dip his proboscis again and again into the damp earth.

I took advantage of my opportunity to take photo after photo, but only when I flashed did the butterfly actually appear on the screen. Like magic, his tawny wings turned blue and green, a bit of scaly phosphorescence on the wing.

Magic courtesy of science!

(Addendum: My poetic 8-year-old great-nephew said this, "the wings look like a map tracing someone's footprints.")

Monday, April 22, 2013

Summer Schedule

It's official: as of today, my summer schedule has kicked in.

Work for several hours at the computer, then walk and shoot for a couple, and then work again. If time agrees, take one more stroll.

At the height of Odonate emergence, there is so much to see. Take the Blue Corporals, for example: some begin emergence; others lengthen wings and take first flight; along the shore tenerals sun themselves; some males have already darkened to their deep black-blue; pairs mate; females deposit eggs. Already the first generation has planted the second to come.

It's exhilirating -- the looking and snapping and naming.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

This isn't about the snail

but about the shell swirl
and the swirl of smoked
gouda grits 
on my dinner plate. 
Treats, these swirls,
for eye and palate, 
thanks to wet forest floor
and to a friend.
A night of dreaming:
pearl-colored swirls
of goodness.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Before and After

At the end of the trestle bridge, we found this Common Baskettail in emergence. It had climbed out of the water and up the concrete stanchion, perhaps five feet in height. There, it began to enter the last stage of life.

Before.
I stayed, watching, but Rana turned toward the lake, and in that instant, its wings snapped open.

After.


We watched the shiver, warming the wings, but didn't wait for flight. 

And I still wish we had.

I never tire of the process of becoming.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Webs

1.

Rain beads spider silk, revealing an otherwise invisible web.

2.

My best college friend's widow came to visit as a stranger except for the one strand in our lives: him. She left a friend, following a different strand in a complicated web.

3.
Rain dots emergent dragonfly wings like diamonds, plops on the eyes, settles the body, sodden, hanging to slender grass. A study in linearity and circularity.
4.

From far below, the rush of water thunders upwards, echoing living energy.
5. 

Like love, old and still new on a raw day.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Incredible Lightness of Being















The Common Baskettail
with crimped wings
fell into the water.
I ladled him
out on my walking stick
tip, but whir as he might,
he could not fly.
He would not fly.
His wings would
not uncrimp.
I placed him near
another with straight
wings, walked away,
and thought
about his incredible
lightness 
all day
and
all night.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

An Assist

Yesterday, I spoke with one of the Buildings and Grounds crew mowing round the lake. I pleaded that they not weed-eat the grasses at water's edge and in the water. I was too late for the beach, but the fellow I spoke with agreed and instructed his colleague to cut the top of the dam only.

This morning, I saw the result: lots of Springtime Darners and Blue Corporals were emerging or had just emerged. I stopped counting the exuviae when I found more than 10 without even looking hard.

Across the lake, round the bend from the trestle bridge, I found one Corporal strung in spider silk. As I had last year, I assumed this one was dead and photographed it. Then, on a whim, I reached into the web and pulled the dragonfly out. I was dumbfounded when it moved in my hand after a moment and then struggled to flutter its wings. The front wings moved with ease, but spider silk had practically glued the back wings together.

Balancing dragonfly and camera, I managed to pick up a thin stick and with three careful efforts, I removed the silk. The Corporal climbed up onto my thumb where it sat for a minute or two, warming, grooming, and then -- suddenly -- it took off.

And so the rescues begin!




Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Yarn Sewanee's Right!

Dear Students,

I don't know you, and you don't know me. But I want to say this: you make me proud of you anyway. I would have liked to teach you, and I am glad to live in a community where you live.

Good luck!

Best wishes,
A Sewanee Neighbor


http://www.dayofsilence.org/














Monday, April 15, 2013

No Escape

A dozen or more dragonflies emerged this morning while I made my rounds. The Springtime Darner, the largest of them, anchored itself to the stems and hung steadily despite some strong gusts. One Blue Corporal emerged on a blade topped by a spider and web. The Corporal, oblivious to the danger and helpless anyway, obeyed its biology, heaved itself up, and proceeded to lengthen. As I passed, I thought about what might happen when I left, but I moved on anyway.


Later, I learned of the bombings in Boston, where runners and audience had been enjoying beautiful weather at a historic race. I watched the explosion on the news and saw  two yellow-coated officials run away from an elderly runner who had fallen in shock. 

Even at the beginning and in the height of living, threatening things await us all, over which we have little or no control. As for myself, instead of turning away, I hope I would move toward rescue -- especially of the vulnerable.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekly Roundup

WARNING: Do not read unless you're curious about my life as Robley the Odonate Hunter.

Taking a cue from a friend who became interested in Odonates last year, I am trying to keep a better record of what I see and when. Every Sunday (unless something extraordinary happens), I plan on composing a weekly roundup.

I saw my first Odonate (a brand new male Fragile Forktail) on the woods path below the pavilion. I also saw my first emergence on Tuesday, quite by accident. I stuttered up the dam when I saw a snake racing so fast under a rock that I couldn't identify it. The better part of safety meant a new route, right to the area when a Springtime Darner was still warming up prior to first flight. Last year's Springtime Darner (the only one I saw emerge) began the process at noon, so it appears that their habit is to fly by mid-afternoon.

On Wednesday, I saw three Blue Corporals (just emerged) whiz by me opposite the beach, and then I came upon several Fragile Forktails (male and female) as well as two Citrine Forktails. I had forgotten just how difficult both are to photograph because of their tiny size: the fragile's length ranges from 1.2 to 1.5 inches while the Citrine runs from .8 to 1.1 inch. Either would easily fit between the first and second knuckles of my index finger. Briefly two Common Green Darners patrolled the beach, but disappeared when the Tree Swallows arrived, diving and swooping.

Cool temperatures and rain on Thursday meant all quiet at Lake Cheston, but on Friday I spied one nymph (Stream Cruiser) on a rock and by Saturday, Blue Corporals were popping out on both sides of the beach shoreline, Forktails flitted in the grasses, and one nymph swam and parked himself on a grass.

Today, again, rain and cool temperatures resulted in no sightings. Just like spring, the Odonate season is slow, but my joy is great.


Blue Corporal
Female Fragile Forktail
Male Fragile Forktail


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Saturday Extra!

Yesterday began at 6 AM and ended at 11 PM, with no time (for the first time in a really long time) to blog. To make up for it, I shall write a second post today.

Last night, I attended the gala opening of Trails and Trilliums, a fund-raising round of activities in support of South Cumberland State Park. I was selected as one of the exhibiting artists. I freely admit that I was pleased to see my photographs hang with those of two other photographers, one an amateur like me and the other a professional.

Best of all, though, was an opportunity to show off my pictures and talk about them to friends. Four even sold (to three sets of friends, but still).

Hanging from my desk lamp, my badge declares me artist, reminding  me of just how much I've learned -- about biology and photography -- in the last several years.


Update: Seven photographs were sold, contributing needed money to a good cause!

Two Days, Two Nymphs

April 12

Walking on the rocky lip of land opposite the beach, I saw the nymph, soaked, atop a stone a foot or so from the water.

I thought, Oh my God! S/he's drowned!

Then I heard the comedian's dah-dum-dum drum.

Uh, hello, Robley? Anybody home? S/he's in the aquatic state!
When I came back round, there the Stream Cruiser still was, drying and looking a bit crunched.

April 13

Walking along the same path today, but in the opposite direction, I saw a shadow, swimming. A nymph! An actual dragonfly nymph swimming! He or she swam into a set of stems and then hung, casually, upside down, and just as he or she will do when emerged, the nymph began grooming. 
Not the same nymph, of course, but still . . . 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

On an Artistic Temperament

Today, I read a fascinating article published in the Healthy Living section of the Huffington Post, Scott Barry Kaufman's "After the Show: The Many Faces of the Performer."

I felt as if I were looking in a mirror rather than staring at a computer screen.

The gist of the article -- that creative people are complex -- isn't new, nor is one of the authors quoted at some length: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Having read his book Flow, I find these comments from the article personally familiar:

"Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they're also often quiet and at rest. They work long hours, with great concentration, while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm...This does not mean that creative people are hyperactive, always 'on.' In fact, they rest often and sleep a lot. The important thing is that they control their energy; it's not ruled by the calendar, the dock, an external schedule. When necessary, they can focus it like a laser beam; when not, creative types immediately recharge their batteries. They consider the rhythm of activity followed by idleness or reflection very important for the success of their work.

"Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted. We're usually one or the other, either preferring to be in the thick of crowds or sitting on the sidelines and observing the passing show. In fact, in psychological research, extroversion and introversion are considered the most stable personality traits that differentiate people from each other and that can be reliability measured. Creative individuals, on the other hand, seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously.

"Creative people's openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment . . . . Being alone at the forefront of a discipline also leaves you exposed and vulnerable."

In summary, Kaufman writes, "These three seeming contradictions -- energy/rest, extroversion/introversion, and openness/sensitivity -- are not separate phenomena but are intimately related to one another and along with other traits form the core of the creative performer's personality." (my emphasis)

Not long ago, a friend refused to accept my admission that I'm an introvert. She laughed, in fact. What she doesn't know is the other me she doesn't see. I'm on when I have to be on, but I prefer to be off, "observing the passing show." I am not always the person she sees.

In addition, because I "exhibit both traits simultaneously," I am not considered as belonging to one of "the most stable personality traits." No news to me or to anyone who has known me. I have always had what my mother called "an artistic temperament."

With three degrees in theater and a long-time career as a teacher of writing and literature, I am well familiar with the contradictions of creative types. We're not always easy to live with or work with, but I'd prefer to spend time with an "unstable" type than with a pure introvert or extrovert. The complexities charm and seduce me the same way a weed's flower comes into and slides out of focus. 


Who's to say which makes it more beautiful.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mornings Like This

Pollen paints water,
Fragile Forktails tussel,
toads mate, unfurl
fertilized eggs
in ribboning curls,
Citrine Forktails
do-si-do
among sedge stems,
Tree Swallows scissor
the bowl of sky:
spring bursts ahead,
pulling me along

but I move
at a millipede's pace
taking in the view.

video

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Why does this make me happy?"

A friend emailed today to recount her four straight days of garden work.
She finally sat down this afternoon and saw the first Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the season.
"Why does this make me happy?" she asked.

I don't know.

Nor do I know why the Bluets,




Six Pointed Fishing Spider,




mating Red-spotted Newts,




or season's first emergent dragonfly, the Springtime Darner,




make me happy.


But they do. 


Ain't spring grand?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Playing Well with Others

isn't my strong suit and never has been.

I get itchy-titchy when I see the University canoe still on the beach, the remnants of this Saturday's and last May's bonfires still littering the beach, the paper Subway wrapper washing in the waves, the beer cans and water bottles filled with sand and tossed into the lake, the . . . .

Even lying on the dam bridge (the better to watch the American toads and let their whirring song vibrate me as well as the water), I wanted to tell the loud others -- talking on their phones, running, playing fetch with their dogs -- to go somewhere else.

Sometimes it's hard to live in community.

But the first truly spring day makes up for others' carefree interruptions and my petty sensibilities.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Tiny House

The Crossing
by Ruth Moose

The snail at the edge of the road
inches forward, a trim gray finger
of a fellow in a pinstripe suit.
He's burdened by his house
that has to follow
where he goes. Every inch,
he pulls together
all he is,
all he owns,
all he was given.

The road is wide
but he is called
by something
that knows him
on the other side.

video

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What Gall!

Softball-sized and heart-shaped, the cedar apple rust gall hangs from the Eastern Red Cedar like a fat pincushion for some Puck-ish imp sewing a damsel's demise.

In this case weird becomes beautiful.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Finally!

Sun brings out the best: a little blue butterfly and a little white one, flying low and fast from weedy bloom to bloom; a quintet of tree swallows swooping and feeding over the Cheston hill; University caterers setting up a party at the Cheston pavillion; and four boys drinking beer and arguing philosophy at water's edge. 




Maybe those Odonates will be coming sooner rather than later!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Small Conversation

In today's New York Times, one of my brothers published an OpEd essay with content as surprising to his family as it has been to his students, colleagues, and many friends. Someone on Twitter recommended the article, writing, "Moving. Eloquent. And, unexpected."


OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
My Dinner With Dr. King
By WILLIAM HOOD
Published: April 3, 2013
FORTY-FIVE years ago, the Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr. went to a small dinner party in Atlanta, not far from the campus of Emory University. It was a quiet January night in 1968. I was one of the guests.
Our hostess, Wanda White, was a young public-school teacher. In the fall of 1967, she worked with Mrs. King, helping with her schedule, as well as other personal and professional responsibilities. During a conversation, Wanda asked the Kings over for a low-key dinner. They accepted, and Wanda invited some of her close friends. (All of us were white.)
My best friend, Larry Shaw, and I were invited to the dinner. He came from a long line of salt-of-the-earth skilled tradesmen anchored in Appalachian South Carolina and the red clay fields of Georgia. My father was a successful industrialist in Birmingham, Ala. We anticipated the approaching dinner with the empty-headed excitement of young people who rarely think beyond their own self-interest.
For us, in fact, the thrill was primarily in meeting a real-life celebrity. Wanda’s corgi heard the Kings’ car before we did. He rushed to the door and flipped over to offer his belly in greeting as the Kings stepped in. As Mrs. King bent down to give him a scratch, Dr. King asked to use the telephone. I took drink orders. Knowing that the Kings were Baptists and most Baptists — white Southern Baptists anyway — didn’t drink, I made sure to tell Mrs. King that we had nonalcoholic beverages.
“I’ll have a Coke, thanks.” She seemed shy and a little nervous. I was, too.
Dr. King was neither shy nor nervous. When he came back, I asked him the same question. “Any Baptists here?” he asked with a smile. “No, sir,” I said. “We’re all Episcopalians.”
The grin blossomed into a smile. “Good! I’ll have Scotch on the rocks.”
Mrs. King blurted, “Well, I’ll have cream sherry.” Everyone laughed, and the early stiffness relaxed.
At the table Wanda, Larry and I regaled the Kings with tales of our common avocation, breeding and showing purebred dogs. (For days afterward we wondered whether the Kings were more bemused than amused, but they were good sports for all that.) Larry told them about the boarding kennel he ran to support his show dogs, and I talked about my graduate studies in art history.
Gradually the conversation moved to more serious topics, and Dr. King himself talked about the blight of poverty on our national life, as well as his feelings against the Vietnam War. Of the three of us, only Wanda had turned her moral attention to issues beyond race, which seemed to be one of the only things that preoccupied Southern liberals in those years. Self-absorbed as I was, only later that year did I begin to realize how prophetic his words were.
After dinner Dr. King asked Wanda if he could use the telephone again. When he came back, he settled onto the sofa next to me. I tried to think of something clever to say, but before I could speak, he asked why I was studying for a Ph.D. in art history. He asked what I thought art could accomplish that other forms of communication could not. I remember that he said that he’d rarely discussed art, or even thought much about it. As I stammered an answer I cannot recall, he listened with the concentration of someone who genuinely wanted to understand. Never before, and rarely since, had I witnessed such authentic humility. It was so simple, so powerful a form of energy that for a few moments it freed me from bondage to myself.
A conversation that cannot have lasted more than 10 minutes ended up changing the way I thought about my life. When I got back to New York, my viewpoint toward earning a doctorate shifted. The determination to use my education to become a famous scholar gradually made room for a half-baked resolution to become a useful art historian. I began to consider the moral or religious content of Renaissance art; and once I got a job teaching art history at an institution whose values encouraged me to develop that ambition, teaching became a means for me to help students identify and examine their own values. That remains my goal. The short conversation I had with Dr. King had a lasting effect.
The next morning Mrs. King called Wanda. We learned that after dinner he’d called to tell the person who would pick them up to come at 11:30, rather than 10:30, as planned. She thanked Wanda for a pleasant evening. She also told Wanda that she and Dr. King were looking forward to inviting us to their home, perhaps when I returned from New York.
Of course, there was no next time. A few minutes before 8 p.m. on April 4, 1968, I arrived at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University to give my first seminar report. As soon as we walked out of class at 10, we learned that Dr. King was dead.
William Hood is a professor emeritus of art history at Oberlin College and a visiting professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

S-w-e-e-t-!

1. The camera salesgirl spoke with the soft lilt of Alabama, "How kin I help yew?" I smiled and slid right down into that familiar dialect. We chatted while I looked. "I just love it here," she said. "Is this your hometown?" I asked. "Oh, yes," she said and repeated, "I just love it." Scottsboro must have come a long way since it was a crime to be black in a little town.

2. On the walls, up high and mostly out of reach, fascinating objects are displayed with their dates of arrival at Unclaimed Baggage. Underwood typewriters, McDonald's arches, and this Hani headdress, my personal favorite.   East meets West by way of the South, where hundreds of folks pass every day. I wonder how many look up and stop as I did?


3. Veranda Cafe for lunch was a pleasant stop, but the dessert, which my friend and I bought because of the owner's enthusiastic description, exuded the too-sweet flavor typical of "the country south." Crushed pretzels, topped by what we were told was cream cheese (but seemed suspiciously like Cool Whip), slathered with sticky, gelatinous strawberry pie filling. Even the description makes my teeth hurt now.

4. A quick stop at the Stevenson Town Park rewarded us with coots bobbing on the water and pecking along the ground, their tidy feathered silhouettes like little mourning-coated gentleman mingling at a wedding, and a pair of osprey, their nest on a ball-field light. As if showing off for us, he fished, with success, brought the food home, and then they both soared.



Scottsboro has been known for two things: a horrifying miscarriage of justice famous in American history (The Scottsboro Boys) and Unclaimed Baggage. Today's journey added a few more to my list, all in the "best of" category.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easing Brain Fatigue

Talking about his life's end-in-view, an elderly friend today described his childhood as that of an "Aborigine in the Everglades." When he heard someone say at the end of a work day that he was tired, he asked, "Then why go to work?" When a teacher told him to do something he didn't want to, he didn't do it. He has always been, as he says, an "iconoclast."

This conversation floated in my mind as I floated in my tub (three fillings, 50 minutes). I kept thinking, Indeed. Why do anything if the end-product is exhaustion rather than renewal?

I have lived in a number of cities, most recently one that assaulted my safety (at the corner a woman was carjacked, just beyond one was murdered), my sense of fairness (those who had took care of their own and left those who had not to destitute poverty), even my senses (I could not sit in my own backyard without being penetrated by someone else's pounding rap music or fists). The city was a beautiful chaotic place, but its beauty increasingly surrendered to my dis-ease.

And then I came to the country, where I sit on my deck and listen to woodpeckers ramming into hole-y trees or deer choughing and stamping, or walk into woods and see no one all day long, or greet strangers on the sidewalk and slide into easy conversation, or spend an hour -- if I wish -- lying in grass, trying to take a single focused photo of a tiny weedy flower.

Perhaps I have returned to my own version of an aboriginal childhood spent in a home backed by forest and fronted by creek. Unlike the Edinburgh researchers and volunteer subjects featured in a recent New York Times article, I have needed no portable EKG wired to my brain to know what they can prove: "green spaces" provide "ease [of] brain fatigue" that cultivates soft fascination.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Eaters and the Eaten

1.
The Easter Bunny brought my bibliophiliac 9-year-old great-niece Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Before now I have been the HP Giver, but somehow the Bunny decided it was time for E to move on into the darker realm. By this afternoon she was on page 138. For her, words are like Lay's potato chips: she can't eat just one.

2.
Dragonflies and damselflies don't eat just one either. If it flies, creeps, crawls, or swims, the Odonate will grab it and ingest it faster than you say Ick! Believe me, I know. I have watched them eat on the fly and on the plant, plucking other critters out of the air, masticating, and swallowing them barely before grabbing another. The first time I saw a Blue Corporal eat a damselfly (of uncertain kind), I didn't even understand what I was seeing. I thought the dragonfly was injured because it  flew and fought with the damselfly so clumsily. The female Eastern Pondhawk, on the other hand, snagged a slightly smaller Calico Pennant with ease, flew it to a bush, and proceeded to tear into the head with what can only be called relish. Like E, the Pondhawk is voracious.


3.
This afternoon, the library filled with undergraduates expert in sugar consumption. They tore into Edible Books, eating The Three Little Pigs, The Lord of the Fries, The 101 Dalmatians, and How to Tell if Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You  with fingers slathered in icing. 




4.
From "Eating Poetry" by Mark Strand

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

5.
I revel in words, words, words, and they are good.