We are under siege here in the Land of Sky Blue Water. Luckily, the big guns have arrived.
Last week, I watched an entire squadron of dragonflies use one of the granite boulders in our front yard as a landing strip and sun deck. The week before that, we couldn’t even watch TV in the family room without dozens of mosquitoes buzzing near our eyes and ears so it is good to see these celophane-winged little daredevils. Dragonflies are the workhorses of winged creatures. In fact, according to Smithsonian magazine, dragonflies evolved long before a lot of other flying insects. Prehistoric fossils of dragonflies with wingspans of up to two feet have been discovered. Dragonflies can fly both up and down, hover, and even mate in mid-air. They catch their dinner with their feet and are capable of catching hundreds of mosquitoes in a single day. (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/14-fun-facts-about-dragonflies). And while the image of dragonflies the size of puppies mating in mid-air isn’t one anyone wants stuck in their head (sorry), when it comes to their current relatives, you have to admit that dragonflies are a pretty flippin’ awesome kind of bug to have around in Minnesota in June.
Last Friday night, as I drove around Mille Lacs Lake, suddenly the windshield was splattered with the remains of hundreds of fish flies who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As I tried in vain to get my windshield wipers to get some of the bug goo off, I suddenly remembered a History professor I know who, once in utter frustration over the fact that none of the students in his class had done the day’s assigned reading, referred to the entire class of college freshmen as “bugs on the windshield of life.”
Our old dog made it to another summer with her kids. When we walk her, she pants and slows down until she spots a dragonfly. She thinks they are a delicacy and can catch one in mid-flight which I find remarkable for a dog of seventeen. She prefers the ones in the air to the ones on the road which proves that even when you are a dragonfly with mad skills, sometimes you are the windshield, and sometimes you are the bug.
It is June. One of the best, albeit buggiest months of the year here in Minnesota. But it is JUNE, not January. And while we swear and swat and wash our cars, we will remember this. We will be itchy and grateful for the blessings of sunshine and cold, clear lakes, evening campfires on starry, starry nights, strong beer, and loons at dusk.
We are Minnesotans, after all. What the heck do we have to complain about in June?