Apr 1, 2007

Linguistic Morphology

Caution: Bug Post.

We all have special memories involving bugs. Except perhaps Scott. Granted some of us have memories of insects causing a sort of St. Vitus' Dance reaction, but the rest of us have positive memories.


Down here, we have mosquito hawks. Or at least that's what I thought they were. Seems I was wrong. See, the morphology of that name and my anal-retentive desire for accuracy in all things set me off on a search for clarification. I don't remember what we called them as kids, but I learned to call them "mosquito hawks," thinking that I had learned that they eat mosquitoes because they herald Spring, and so do the flying hypodermics down hereabouts. Then I started thinking further back, into the dark reaches of my mind, down those scary dark hallways and behind the very oldest doors, and realised that the term "mosquito hawk" might be to everyone else what my Mom used to call dragonflies.

Which, if you're still with me, and wondering why I'm on about bugs, I find out now is much more accurate because the gangly, long-legged bumbling fly-away insect I called a mosquito hawk doesn't in fact eat mosquitoes at all, whereas we all know that dragonflies ne' mosquito hawks ne' devil's darning needles are the consumate (heh...a pun) mosquito eater and therefore one of my all-time favourite flying bugs, in the Top Five along with damselflies and cicadas.



What I have been (note the current past-tense) calling mosquito hawks is actually called, less stylishly, the Crane Fly; it is a nectar eater if it eats at all, and it's grubs are, like cicadas, apparently the only 'real' part of it's life, as the flying bit seems to exist for the sole reason of procreation, and the spawn carry the very cool name of "leatherjackets."

Anyway, they're a wonderful part of my summer memories, both long ago and current, because, like foretellers of the mosquitoes, they're everywhere right now. All over the damned place. Into everything. Every time I step outside I seem to be wading into a bouncy, ethereal ocean of legs and wings that serve no purpose.

Last night winter tried one last time to regain it's hold on the south and dumped a ton of rain on us, which didn't dampen the spirits of the crane flies but sure brought out the devil's darning needles. There's a sizeable puddle in the backyard that shows up when a lot of rain arrives and the ground is slow on the drinking, but this afternoon, in the midst of my depression (unable to cut the grass, you see) I looked out in the backyard, at that silvery blot in my too-tall grass, and saw dozens of the small, common blue dragonflies that we get every year, weaving an intricate dance around and about each other and the puddle. In the shade of the crepe myrtle they were simple black shapes, darting and swaying, but when they passed into the sunlight they seemed to explode in dazzling bursts of blue, like tiny electric sparks given brief sway over the air, only to be extinguished in the shade again.

Soon the bigger, golden darning needles will start appearing in the skies when I bushhog, thick golden rods on the wing, glittering and swooping, feeding on the clouds of bugs the tractor disturbs out of the summer grasses. Soon the massive green and blue behemoths will appear; languid, thin zeppelins given wings and free reign in the sky, silent memories of their giant ancestors.

No, I'm not sure where this is going. My mind is distracted, my nerves frayed. Surgery is Wednesday, a relatively minor malady of an intensely personal nature, but the very idea of being asleep, the little death that has nothing to do with sex, that scares me. The idea of a bored doctor working his trade on me does nothing to make me feel better. The dispassionate tool and it's wielder scare me.

Oh, here's the cool pictures and the info. *S*


Stucco said...

Well, good luck on Wednesday anyhow, Irr. Don't let the butchers get one over on you. Filthy medieval barbers- "Bring the leeches!"

But then, I digress- good luck!

Irrelephant said...

"Butchers." Yeah, thanks for the support there, Stucco. *wink*

Nancy Dancehall said...

Ugh. I know the feeling. You're going to be ok. Want me to put on some Steey Dan on Wednesday? Nothing bad can happen when Steely Dan plays. :-)

Irrelephant said...

Nancy, I think that's a wonderful idea. Though to be honest, at this point if you were to send over two hippies and a pint of home-made hooch I'd accept it with a smile.

Scott from Oregon said...

Now remember. Just as you take in your first sniff of the good gas, and before you got under, lift your mask and yell "Woohoohoo!!!"

The doctor will and nurse will suddenly care about your well being. It is the hidden "trick" to having PDL.

I still call them mosquito hawks, but I knew they did not eat misquitos. I put them all in a jar once and watched nothing happen.

Irrelephant said...

Scott, I'll definitely do it. *grin* Anything to keep The Man guessing.