Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - April 6, 2006)
A Ruby birthday on a misty morning
The thick fog settled hovering just above the surface of the lake, smudging the
horizon line making sky and land appear as one. Silver light fell across the water,
rippled from fish jumps.
|Photo by Rick Tremmel
|Dragonfly: When stationary the
dragonfly holds its wings in a horizontal position. The damselfly,
which is slightly smaller, holds its wings in an upward and backward
Water-strider insects, agile skaters on mirrored ice, scooted out of harms
way, as I eased the canoe into the cool waters edge. Sandals and binoculars
slung over my shoulder, I waded a ways in until the boat broke free of ground, then
carefully stepped inside.
Ruby, my sweet old, still somewhat elegant, black, standard poodle was already
comfortably seated having leaped in from shore. March 31, 2006 salutes Rubys
14th birthday. As my constant companion and confidant, we decided to celebrate.
Almost silently the oar sliced into the water. Ive become familiar with this
river. I know where the current runs fast pulling a canoe along free for nearly a
2-mile stretch. I know where the alligators live and where a great-blue heron
returns every year to raise her brood.
We were in this familiar current heading east toward where Id remembered
seeing wide expanses of water lilies with yellow and white blossoms the year
before. From a tall, barren tree an osprey stood vigil. Steering out of the
current, we glided past a pair of male and female blue-winged teals. Ruby raised
her nose. I whispered, No. She rested against the railing again.
Surrounded by large crops of cattails, a small peninsula jutted out into the lake.
This is where the alligators sun themselves. Beyond is a bay of water lilies. Wide
branching trees shelter that bay. Lake waves have washed their roots smooth leaving
a tangle of snake-like appendages reaching out into the waters.
As the lily patch thickens, maneuvering becomes increasingly difficult, so I take
to poling. We enter the center of a ring of water lilies where we can sit and rest
Opening our lunch box, I offer Ruby a birthday hamburger while I snack on a power
bar. The sun glitters on the open water with only a few patches of fog remaining in
shadowed places. Drops of water swirl over the lily leaves making watercolor
designs. Dragonflies and damselflies move briskly in all directions around us,
swooping to grasp their prey while still in flight.
You can identify the difference between these two relatives by the angle of their
wings. When stationary the dragonfly holds its wings in a horizontal position. The
damselfly, which is slightly smaller, holds its wings in an upward and backward
The flight of the dragonfly also differs from the damselfly. The dragonfly is
swift and powerful. Some accounts estimate the dragonflies at speeds between 35 and
60 mph. Their excellent eyesight, strong jaws and skilled hunting abilities have
given them the reputation of being known as the tigers of the insect world.
Dragonflies are predatory in all their stages.
Dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) are brightly colored in shades of blue,
brown, black, green and red on their long slender bodies and have two pairs of
transparent, veined wings. Both species mate in flight. The females deposit their
eggs in water near floating plant masses like the water lilies that surrounded our
Damselflies and dragonflies feed on other insect larvae, such as mosquito larvae
in great numbers, while they mature in their aquatic nurseries.
The canoe rose and fell with the ebb and flow of the river. The harbor was a
restful, peaceful place away from people, traffic and human woes. I wondered how it
must have been for the Native peoples or the settlers before me. I wondered whether
a similar wolf and friend made this passage together in days gone by. How would the
sky have looked?
Did the foggy mist rise from warm water painting everything in a glistening gray
like today? I wondered if my old pal and I would celebrate another birthday
together and pushed those thoughts away before tears came. Then I smiled and
thanked Creator for moments like these, while drifting on a sea of water lilies
pondering dragonflies and damselflies on a misty birthday morning
Karen can be reached at MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.