From the Dragonfly Archive

Dragonfly June 26

Today’s gray gloom can’t be conquered by normal means.

Dragonfly July 25

Blankets and hot chocolate are no match for the wind’s creak and scrape.

Dragonfly July 23

Even the cats have given up. They’ve abandoned their interest in my newly reorganized guest room/office and curled up in their favorite beds.

Dragonfly July 5

I would join their willful hibernation if I could, but my to-do list is on the verge of collapsing under its own weight and becoming a singularity from which I can never escape.

Dragonfly Aug 24

So, when sleep is not an option, the only remaining cure for a day like today is dragonflies.

Dragonfly July 28

Lots and lots of dragonflies.

Dragonfly July 26

I feel better already.

Blue Moon Friday (Arachnophobia Alert!)

The blue moon suits my mood. I’m tired and sluggish, ready to crawl off into some quiet corner and lose myself in a half-edited manuscript, one burdened with rambling paragraphs and boring verbs. It needs dragonflies.

A couple of spiders wouldn’t hurt, either.

Because spiders matter. Even the ones that eat butterflies. (I believe this was a Cloudless Sulfur butterfly.)

I want my story to feel real, so it can’t be all flutter and gleam. It needs sticky strands of web, for tension. And rough surfaces, for texture.

Now, if only I could find a way to add cicadas. Maybe just one. A late summer cicada, laying its eggs under the bark of a pear tree…

So Many Dragonflies!

More and more dragonflies! (As usual, the identifications are mostly guesswork. Please comment to confirm or correct!)

Male Great Blue Skimmer?

Female Great Blue Skimmer

Needham’s Skimmer

Unknown. (Possibly one of the skimmers?)

Female Eastern Amberwing

Female Eastern Amberwing

Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly

This little Eastern Amberwing dragonfly doesn’t seem to mind the heat, which has me cowering in my air-conditioned office.

I tend to procrastinate, so today is the kind of day I dread. I’m trapped indoors, face to face with a heap of unfinished manuscript submissions and bookkeeping chores. Of course, I could always read a book. Or take a nap. Or both…

Eastern Amberwing Dragonflies

I want a dragonfly field guide, though I suspect many of my dragonfly photos would defy identification.

Dragonfly identification seems to depend, in large part, on minutiae. “Major” identifying characteristics include eye configuration and wing vein patterns, details that are hard to spot as a dragonfly zips past. Even when they perch, allowing close inspection of eyes and wings, they seldom give me enough time to catalogue the minor variations of thorax and abdomen that are key in separating related species. In some cases, identification is further complicated by differences between males and females.

The more I learn, the less I know. Now, every time I photograph a dragonfly, I want to say, “Pardon me, but could you turn to your left? Your right? Raise your wings a bit? Yes. Very good… Now, here’s a pen. Please write down your name.”

I don’t know why I haven’t given up. Even my successes feel incomplete. Every identification is tentative. I can never say, with complete confidence, “These are Eastern Amberwing dragonflies.” I’ll always need to add, “Please correct me, if I am wrong.”