Monday, August 29, 2022

Small Beasties

There are always water beetles floating on the surface of the pool. They are alive when transferred by the skimmer to the desert beyond.  Most of the animals we find in the pool are dead, usually a small bird or rodent dropped from a beak on the way to be dinner for the kiddos.  Last month a frog took a fatal plunge.  They too are sent flying into the great beyond.

They don't impede my swimming.  Fred, the yellow jacket of the order Hymenoptera, and his buddy (also called Fred because who can tell the difference) come for a drink in the early afternoon.  We are respectful of one another.  I pause my laps so that they can sit and drink.  In return, they do not buzz me nor sting me.

This negotiated peace, which began with flailing and swooping and various attempts to dominate the other, has lasted comfortably for a decade.  There's no dilly dallying on either of our parts - they drink and fly away, I stop as soon as I see them.

Apparently, the orange dragon fly did not get the memo.

I went out to skim and found this beautiful, bi-plane of a beastie circling the pool  I sat back in the shade to watch.  I moved to the sunshine to watch some more.  I went inside to get my camera when I realized that the beastie was carving the same figure-8-with-a-twist over and over and over again.

The polar bear at the Lincoln Park Zoo exhibited the same psychotic behavior.  He had an excuse, sequestered in a small, uninteresting pool.  But this dragon fly was there when I came out with the phone, continued his dance for the 44 seconds of video I attempted to take, and showed no signs of stopping.

At a certain point, I had had enough.  I used the skimmer to create some waves and off he went.

Google tells me that dragon flies are dying out because the wetlands are shrinking.  I suppose my pool was a private oasis for one poor creature until I asserted my mammalian prerogative.  I didn't feel guilty about it at all.  I swam and fought the concomitant boredom, willing myself to finish the last 5 minutes on the clock when something dive bombed my temple.

I swatted.  It fell.  It was large (for a bug) and bulbous and flew away after righting itself.

I got out of the pool.  I can take a hint. The animal kingdom was showing me my proper place.


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