Reverence Beside Holt Pond

There was a time when I’d either shout for my parents to kill a tiny spider in my bedroom or walk around the numerous apartments I lived in with my hands clenched, pacing until I built up enough nerve to do the critters in.

h-Holt Pond boardwalk

And today . . .

h-carpenter ants1

I stopped to watch carpenter ants dance with each other and was amazed by their mandibles, very large mandibles–the better to chew wood and create connecting tunnels in their nests.

h-lady beetles 1

I admired convergent lady beetles feeding on pollen and nectar in the absence of prey.

h-wandering glider dragonfly

And celebrated the first dragonflies of the season.

hpp-boots

In hopes of seeing others, I got my boots wet.

h-dragonfly emerging

Thankfully, it was well worth it and I wasn’t disappointed as I had the opportunity to watch one dry its wings out before taking flight.

h-dragonfly nymph 1

Because I was beside water,  I knew to look for exoskeletons,

hp-dragonfly exo 2

and wonder about the transformation that took place.

hp-bog rosemary

But, it’s not just insects that were worth a wow moment. Bog rosemary bloomed.

h-blue flag iris 1

I spied my first blue flag iris of the season.

h-pitcher plant 1a

And awaited the blooms of pitcher plants.

h-cinnamon fern 2

The cinnamon fern’s fertile fronds also begged to be noticed.

h-royal fern

The same was true for the royal fern,

hp3-interrupted fern 1

and interrupted–all three members of the Osmundaceae family who, like me, don’t mind wet feet.

hp-tea bridge

As I moved through this wetland, I welcomed occasional glimpses of sun and warmer temps. But thanks to the coolness and breeze, the mosquitoes didn’t bother me–that and the fact that I finally started using Skeeter skidaddler, an all natural bug repellant made in Windham, Maine. (I bought it at my guy’s store a few years ago and have encouraged him to purchase more.)

h-tadpoles 1

Eventually, I left the trail and followed Grist Mill Road for a while, when what to my wondering eyes should appear in the newly created trenches–tadpoles galore.

h-aquatic larvae on rock

And aquatic insects climbing a rock as they prepared for their own metamorphosis.

h-veery 2

My intention was to follow the road all the way back to my truck, but at a side trail (the tire highway for those of you who know), I decided to retrace some of my steps and check on the dragonfly at the quaking bog. As I walked, I heard a spiraling song in the distance and then when I approached the bog boardwalk the veery showed its face–a sweet moment indeed.

h-red winged blackbird at quaking bog1

The red-winged blackbirds also sang, and my heart sank when I spied one near the dragonfly.

hp-dragonfly 5

But all was well and still he clung–in limbo. My hope is that his wings finally dried and predator he became, but I’ll never know for finally I had to leave and let nature take its course.

h-water spider 1

During my second visit, however, I had a chance to spy another who isn’t an insect, but is still worth a wonder–a water spider. I found it curious that there were dragonfly wings in the water. Oh my. Related to the spider’s presence? I don’t know.

And then I reminded myself that spiders aren’t insects, but both are invertebrates.

If you look back at the carpenter ants, you’ll see that they have a head, thorax and abdomen. And the thorax is where the three pairs of legs are attached. You can see it on the dragonfly as well. Insects also have eyes, antennae and mouthparts–like the ants’ mandibles. Most insects also have wings.

Spiders, however, have two main body parts–a combined head and thorax (or cephalothorax), and an abdomen. Their eyes, mouthparts and four pairs of legs are all part of the cephalothorax. Unlike insects, they can’t chew and they don’t have wings.

Insects belong to Insecta and spiders to Arachnida.

But in my book both are worth a wonder and so today I’m glad I had a chance to revere them.

 

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Reverence Beside Holt Pond

  1. What an incredible group of photos! Love them all, but for some reason the blooming bog rosemary was especially exciting. What a great capture of the veery! I’m glad the adult NL is no longer afraid of spiders!

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  2. Beautiful writing and photos, as always! The spider made me jump. I still haven’t gotten over my fear of them – I’m fascinated by them, appreciate them, respect them -but, darn, they give me goosebumps!!! Thank you Leigh, for sharing your gifts.

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    1. Haha, Lynn. I was thinking about them when I wrote that. Those were the hugest and hairiest spiders I’ve ever seen and they really did climb up the water spout. xo.

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