Dragonfly forest and other stories


Sympetrum olcinum dragonfly

Sympetrum olcinum dragonfly

Amelia, my niece was overhead saying to her brother and sister as they looked out the front door facing the expansive gardens and lawn, “It’s a dragonfly forest.” There were hundreds of dragonflies dive bombing mosquitoes and it did look like a dragonfly habitat.  We often see them by the masses at sunset around the pool area when we have our dinner out at the picnic table. Honestly, there are no mosquitoes because of the dragonfly patrol. No need to spray here. I did get a photo of the red or rust yellow-legged meadowhawk (Sympetrum olcinum). We saw a twelve-spotted skimmer (Libfellua pulchella). The skimmer has a white abdomen and several spaces on the wings that are clear, with darker accented markings. It is rather large and noticeable.

Looking in a field guide for vernal ponds, I learned that the eastern box turtle is of special concern in Massachusetts. I feel fortunate to have a shell that my dog Tia and I discovered near the pond that was on the back side of our property in Lusby, MD. In December 2000, I carried the shell with me when I moved to Wisconsin. Once I was there, I learned that the turtle was a significant part of Ojibwa culture in the Great Lakes region. There is no such thing as coincidence, seeing as I had moved to Indian Country and would be studying with the Ojibwa at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College (LCOOCC). I graduated from LCOOCC in 2003. You can read about my journey to the Midwest online at http://www.tribalcollegejournal.org/archives/8298

I was granted a Creative Writing Award from Tribal College Journal where the article was published along with other tribal college authors. I am thrilled that the prestigious Journal published the  issue online for prosperity.

Amelia, my grand niece

Amelia, my grand niece

Continuing our woodland walk, Amelia and I saw many frogs. I saw a wood frog  that wears a black mask across its eyes and has a yellow line that distinguishes this particular frog species. Frogs were not all we saw. There was cucumber root . My sister Ronnie told me what it was. Here is a photo of the plant. The upper set of leaves were growing through the beautiful ferns that exist within the woodlands.

Cucumber root

Cucumber root

The plant is unique because it as two separate sets of leave with berries within the top array of leaves that form a circle around the plant stalk. Ronnie also pointed out running cedar that grows near the far boundary of the property near the frog pond. . I have to jog my memory re: medicinal plants and look up both running cedar and princess pine. Something is nagging me about one of them being a medicinal plant.

On the walk down Ashby West Road yesterday, I came across lady slipper leaves visibly growing near one of my favorite grandfather boulders. I was really taken aback. There are at least eight sets of visible plants growing along the side of the road. I drove down the hill yesterday and Ronnie was able to be my eyes as we passed the large glacier boulder. Ronnie, being a plant expert herself, was able to spot the lady slippers. I love them because they are part of the orchid family and hardy enough to grow in our northern climate.

ladyslipper

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4 Comments

  1. nonnagonyer said,

    August 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Hello my friend. Hope this finds you well. Are you coming back to WI anytime soon?

    • August 24, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      Distance isn’t very far when one realizes how fast time passes. I will return to WI September 5. See you soon. I am recovering well and back to full speed. Yahoo! I am making the conscious choice not to use up all my energy upon my return there.

  2. Akasa said,

    August 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    What a lovely walk-through with you Grandmother! 🙂
    I’m envious you have wild ladyslipper growing…one of my
    favorites. I’d never seen any until visiting in Minnesota
    one year at Lake Mille Lacs. What a beauty.

    I’m curious about the cucumber root…will have to do a
    bit of research there as I’ve not seen one of those either.

    The dragonflies have been playing each evening here
    in Southern Wisconsin too. Most evening I sit out and
    watch and listen to the natural world and am totally
    enthralled with these most mystical creatures. This year
    I’ve only seen silver/black colored although my eyesight is not
    what it once was even with bifocals, lol.

    It’s always a treat to sit here and read Dear One! Hope you
    are doing well…I’ve been pretty busy these past days so at
    times I just pop over and read and don’t comment but I’m
    always thinking of you and holding you close to my heart.

    You’re in my prayers! 🙂
    Love,
    Akasa

    P.S. I’ve had a hummingbird show up the past few days
    sipping nectar from one of my potted plants. She hasn’t
    been here all summer but is now. I heard on the news
    they are being affected by the drought too. Understandable
    as all things are this year. I hope they have enough food
    to sustain them in their long flight back on their migratory
    path. As well, I’ve only seen one Monarch this summer.

    • August 24, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Bless your heart Akasa. I am happy you are walking with me. It is glorious out in the woods. There are always new things that surface from close encounters with nature. Today was no exception but I haven’t had the quiet time to reflect and write. So happy the hummingbirds are with you. It is a long migration that hummers have, about the same as the monarch. I hope they too have enough fat stored to carry them across the great migration trail. We are both connected at heart level and I know that I do not walk alone.


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