1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Figurative Friday--Surprise! It's the End-of-the-Weak Day

I like surprises, giving more than getting, but there was one waiting for me at the beginnning of the week. Monday found us still at home for a long weekend--thanks to SAM's understanding boss--and I was up with the sunrise, walking through the wet grass and taking in the sights and sounds of an early morning. I guess the dew slowed me in my flip-flops enough so I could spot these Green Darners, Anax junius, dangling from a palm frond. They were oblivious to me while in the midst of an extended embrace so I took the opportunity to snap away...
I approached them from different angles, curious about which one was male and female and what they were called, besides dragonflies, of course. That bug collection assignment in the fifth grade wasn't a total waste of time. Yes, Mrs. Whatever-Your-Name-Was--thank you very much--these are dimorphic insects, meaning that the two sexes look different from each other. That's helpful. The male in this case is the one in the upright position with the blue abdomen. He has the end of it inserted behind the female's head. This dragonflies-for-dummies article describes the insects' life cycle and has some excellent photos but doesn't include a lot of details like why the dragonflies resort to such an odd method of making babies! You should check out this National Geographic article if you're not satisfied with the basics. Dragonflies have such complicated mating rituals that scientists are still scratching their heads over what it all means. This isn't exactly an embrace. The male has the female's head pinned with special claspers on his tail so he can get down to business and also so she can't bite his head off. Of course, evolution provides the explanation for this strange, "ersatz heart" position. Doesn't it always? The dragonflies and damselflies apparently have this courting and mating thing down pat. The article says their time on earth--more than 300 million years--gives them an edge over other creatures, considering their diversity and distribution, and that they have had plenty of "time to figure all the angles on sex." Good for them! I'm glad I'm not an insect.    
Since I'm human, I get to enjoy things--like brilliant colors and stained-glass patterns on sunlit wings.
We surprised Daughter the day before the dragonfly sighting with a homemade cake--white chocolate with cherry topping--some flowers, balloons, and a card with two poems inside. Here is one of them, full of clues about what else she can expect:      
Look under the rug

Peek under the bed

Where is the darn thing

The birthday girl said

I don’t want a present

But it must be here somewhere

Is it something round?

Or will it be square?

If it’s stashed somewhere small

A piece may be pok’n

But if it’s too tall, it may be brok’n

The parents look sly

And say, Daughter… Truly Spok’n

Happy Birthday,


Can you guess what her surprise was?

She picked it out, and we brought it home the next day, a few hours after the sun rose and the Green Darners flew away.


  1. Great shots, usually I have trouble trying to photo dragon flies. That being said I don't exactly have a zoom lens so I usually get to close.

    And wow! Big number 28! Happy Birthday!

  2. I have no idea what your daughter's birthday present might be. The dragonflies are pretty neat. I can never see them sit still long enough to photograph them.

  3. Great dragonfly shots! Isn't it so much fun? Some species of dragons are almost impossible to capture! You are such a tease - what did you give your daughter for her birthday? ~karen

  4. Excellent piece on dragonfly sex, best I've ever read!

    Your daughter got a bike. I hope it was pink with streamers.

  5. Wow...this is nearly the sexiest bug post I've ever seen!

    I am going to guess that your daughter got a new vase!

  6. A wonderful and natural post. Nature has such startling and seemingly imaginative surprises in her store for us. We have to research seriously that at which step of the evolution process, higher grade aimals are bestowed with the reproduction process like that of humans. We learn in school text books that the single cell animals are being reproduced by the fission process, where as living organisms with complex system are being procreated through fusion. However, it is quite curious to hear about the mating process of Green Darners.

    Then about the gift. I thought a lot. But, what was it?

  7. Darn it and she doesn't usually need her green dress. Now let me get this straight. You what so she doesn't bite your head off? Oops sorry sorry.

  8. Dragonflies are pretty kinky. Wow.

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  10. Fantastic shots!!
    And thank you so much for your very interesting account of dragonflies! I enjoyed it a lot. I was really amazed at their excellent gymnastic abilities!! The dawn photo is awesome!

  11. Mr. S, I usually don't have much luck catching up with them so this occasion was pretty special. My camera ain't fancy either, just a Nikon CoolPix L100. I'll pass along the birthday wishes.

    Tina, they are fast flyers most of the time. Early morning must be the best time to find them at rest or otherwise occupied:)

    Karen, I did have a lot of fun with these shots even though I had to drop to my knees to get them. The palm tree is only about waist high. Paula guessed correctly on the gift.

    Of course you would know, Paula. Didn't you used to live in Milton? No, the bike isn't pink. I think they referred to the color as "pomegranate," and it's a Townie. Streamers were optional. I'm glad you liked the post. I had a lot of fun with it.

    Julie, it's family friendly so why not? SAM acted shocked that I posted it, but he didn't fool me. He's no prude, and he knows better than to expect me to start acting like one. Nope, no vase.

    Nature never ceases to amaze me, Tomz, and I'm glad that she keeps the scientists on their toes. The gift was a new bicycle. The one she had was a cheapie and not much fun to ride anymore. The chain would seize up or the brakes would lock up or something would fall off--it got to be a safety issue.

    TB, the green dress might not have attracted him, but who could resist those milk-chocolate brown eyes? They must be hypnotic to him, being compound and all. He didn't want to lose himself in them.

    Thanks, TFB, and I hope you keep featuring those other Florida bloggers out there. Paula is one of them. She's a fantastic photographer.

    Rosey, I had no idea they had such complicated methods.

    Thank you, Sapphire. I'm so glad you liked the post, strange poses and all. It was quite the learning experience for me too.

  12. Lovely shots you got there of the dragon flies. Interesting piece of information. Splendid surprises await us in our natural surroundings, but we're so caught up with our everyday lives that we fail to see and understand. I'm glad you're sharing all these things which I may be oblivious of, otherwise !

  13. What a great post, W2W! Your photos are stunning, and the information about dragonflies is so interesting. Reminds me of when I did a little research two years ago on the praying mantis when I had so many mantids in my garden. I even managed to catch a pair mating, too, but I didn't know at the time that the female often eats the male afterwards. Wonder if millions of years from now, humans will evolve into some of insects' practices:) Of course, man may very well not be around by then.

    A happy belated Birthday to your Daughter! I hope she enjoyed her bike--I read the comments because I didn't have a clue:)

  14. Dear Walk2write,
    these pictures of the dragonflies are stunning! We have some of them here because there is a little pond in the back, but I was never able to tale a photograph - they were too quick (not lovemaking but hunting).
    To my eyes the male dragonfly looks more beautiful (elegant way to lure you to my new post on "you are witty and pretty" about "Male is Beautiful").
    Can't guess the present for your daughter - but the cake looks delicious! Have a nice day! Britta

  15. Wow! No wonder they are so long, they have to have the flexibility!
    Beautiful family.

  16. You said it, RGB! Most of the time, I just breeze on by things most of the time. Thinking about posts for the blog slows me down, and then I start to notice all sorts of interesting critters and phenomena.

    Thanks, Rose. I remember your mantid post and how enjoyable it was to read. I think it was during the time we were back in Illinois. If we start taking on insect characteristics, it probably will be over for humans. I should stop saying things like "Don't bite my head off!" It's a little too close to dragonfly behavior for comfort:)

    Britta, I think females in most cases are more drab than the males. Good thing human females have the upper hand in appearance, but it makes you wonder why that's so. I will check out your post. It sounds interesting. The surprise was a Townie bicycle, a couple of steps up from the cheap cycle she's had for several years. I feel better about her safety now. I hope you have a nice day too!

    Hi, Dawn! I always wondered about the dragonflies' unusual length and thought it had something to do with flight. Now I know better:)

  17. Amazing dragonfly and sunset images. Happy Birthday to your daughter!

  18. Thanks, Sarah! I'll relay the good wishes. Actually, it was a sunrise. I know. It's hard to believe I would be up that early:)

  19. Those dragonflies are really cool. I've been trying, keyword here being trying, to photo them and haven't had any luck. I'm so jealous, maybe I just need to catch them when they're feeling amorous?

  20. This is the only time I've been able to catch up with them, MBT, so I guess you're right. They were too intent on each other to notice me. I just wish my skills with the camera could have done justice to them. I'll probably never get an opportunity like this again.

  21. Fascinating, the dragonflies. That is quite a rare picture for you to capture. I guess I need to get up earlier lol but yours seem a bit to worry about someone taking a picture of them in their private moments LOL
    We've got a lot of dragonflies in our yard and when I go outside it seems as though they rush to greet me. I think they like me. It's hard to capture a photo of them because of their wide eyesight.
    Oh what a beautiful cake ! yum you have a lovely family. Everyone looks so nice and happy.
    I was quite curious what her present was so I had to peek and realized it was a bicycle. How nice! I bought a fancy pretty pink one at Target and took it back as my legs were too long for it so I will just keep riding my Trek with the super skinny tires. Hubby bought it for me and surprised me one Christmas with it. I hated taking the pink one back cause it was so pretty and pink too. I was going to get a basket for it lol.

    That's pretty interesting about the weed. I think I too have them all over the yard. I will have to pay more attention. They are pretty weeds though and almost look like some sort of fern.
    The caterpillars look like large worms. I've been seeing some weird looking ones here too. my favorite are the big fat fuzzy black ones.

    Your beans are lovely, well the one is. I wonder what could be keeping the other ones from blooming? I want to try my luck at these next year, or I wonder if they are winter crops here? probably not.hmmmm I will have to check.
    The orange dog is something else !

    Thank you for your kind comments and I do apologize for taking so long to get over for a visit with you. Also thank you so much for the Birthday greetings ♥

    Have a wonderful Holiday week-end!

  22. ooops, it didn't take my editing, so it was supposed to read: but yours seem a bit "preoccupied" to worry about someone taking a picture of them in their private moments

    oh well, these things happen

    have a great day !

  23. OMG, I was so not ready for Bug Porn this morning! LOL...Happy birthday and enjoy that bike girl...