I am finding it really hard to grasp that September has arrived. We’ve had a couple of weeks of pretty intense heat, which certainly give the impression that summer is not ready to relinquish its hold yet. Add to that the nearly five inches of rain that have fallen in some of the Omaha area, which will surely keep many of the plants in comfortable green for a while yet, and it seems that it’s not quite right that August should already be a memory.
Still, the signs that the seasons march on are there for those who know where and how to look. For example, our glorious Clematis—that has grown from a several-inch-tall seedling to nearly-completely engulfing our five-foot-high mailbox—has come into blossom, first with just a few a week ago, and now it’s sporting more than a thousand. I went out late this morning for a closer look at it (without my camera—when will I ever learn?!) and within a minute or so, a huge, perfect tiger swallowtail sailed over my shoulder and landed on one of the flowers only a couple of feet from where I stood. So, of course, I went back in and fetched the camera, fitted with my favorite macro lens, and came back out, not bothering with my tripod, which I knew would be likely not only to result in a number of better images, but also to slow me down considerably.
The swallowtail never returned, but as I stood and studied the tangle of branches, it became apparent that this was a veritable jungle of arthropod activity. Apart from the omnipresent honey- and bumblebees and an occasional paper wasp, I was attracted to the activities of several deep-orange goldenrod soldier beetles (Chauliognathus pensylvanicus—did the taxonomist not know that the Penn part of Pennsylvania has a double-n?), happily nuzzling deeply into the pollen-laden interiors of the flowers.
And so I send hopes for you all, up here in the northern half of the globe, for a gentle transition into autumn—and you folks below the equator, for an equally-gentle slide into your springtime. Wherever you are, I wish you a splendid September!