Ken Harrison 6:45 p.m., Aug. 23
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- Bear Valley Cafe
Summer is the season of the dragonfly. Also the water skimmer and the damsel fly. The chorus of tree frogs has ceased, and I miss the nightly serenade. But one slightly misguided male dragonfly has decided that it's perfect mate might be the antenna of the Subaru. Go figure. The tiny round black ball on the top of the antenna must look like heaven. He spends hours communing with the antenna. I am viewed as the competition, and he flies about me, checking out my movements, and seems bothered when I drive off into the sunset, taking Subaru with me.
After a quick trip to the library and the farmers' market, we return with a Sarah Vaughan CD, and play her soulful rendition of Cole Poerter's "What's This Thing Called Love" and her voice is superb as always: "Love flew in through my window, I was so happy then, but after love had stayed a little while, love flew out again." The dragonfly doesn't seem to notice, except that his lady love was back home, finally. Perhaps I'll play him "Brokenhearted Melody" next: "now you just keep taunting me with the memory of his tender love" -- a love that is a summer love, short but sweet.
In the world of dragonflies, he is formidable. He's bright orange, CalTrans dayglow orange, with double wings and a strong flier. He's probably a flame skimmer (Libellula saturata). He defends his territory, the Subaru, from three other males. The male lands and waits for the female. He's going to have a long wait. The Subaru is a fickle lover. Downright haughty: never bending to this clinging lover.
Kathy Biggs has produced a wonderful and informative book called "Common Dragonflies of California" and maintains a website at sonic.net/dragonfly. Cynthia Berger's "Wild Guide Dragonflies" is especially informative about their mating habits and life patterns. She speaks of their heart-shaped coupling.
Alas, the Subaru antenna is straight and unyielding. The dragonfly family is one of the earth's oldest living creatures, some 200 million years. We are not holding our breath that the Subaru's lover will procreate in this particular swamp of love. It would be a miracle if he did.