i've been watching the making of a two-story fourplex across the street from me with avid interest sinse its inception. the lot had been vacant since i moved in about two years ago. for a while i was not happy about its being vacant and overgrown with weeds. but, after time, i began to appreciate the loneliness of it, the openness of it, the migrating birds that used it as a coffee shop(they could be so raucous and randy at times i thought i was at klein's truck stop on highway 99), the neighboring dogs that could sneak in via their fence and cavort for hours on end, the cyclone fence around my perimeter of it that kept me and everyone else out (but not the animals which made it kind of an urban zoo). i could see anything there: cats, dogs, squirrels, a possum or two, field rats. and birds: crows, blue jays, mockingbirds, sparrows, finches, doves, robins, chickadees (migrating from the foothills of winter to the spring and summer of the valley), hairy woodpeckers (moving to fresno from wherever they flew from), once an egret (non-migratory, but always an egret so what the hell) and hummingbirds. Cranes, gulls, hawks and falcons sometimes fly overhead and drop big poops..
this year i experienced a 'painted lady' butterfly migration that reminded me of the monarch migrations when i was very young.
and then i thought about the stupid volunteer border "agents" who would stop all of them and demand identification. i cry to think of a butterfly at a toll booth telling the man that the last 50,000 women he let through with no ID were "painted ladies" in search of rich husbands.
the monarchs would migrate every spring for a month or two from mexico up to canada. on their way, they would stop in the big redwoods and take a breather. these giant sequoias would be literally covered with them. there were days you could not see bark on 30' diameter trees 100' up. and we never bothered them other than wanting to drive up and see them.
this year, the "ladies" looked askance at me as i was pruning early flowers. i've never before encountered an attitudinal sapsucker that wanted points on the film.
the 'ladies' were everywhere for almost a month on their way to canada. brave dames, especially the ones my grill took out. to them it's probably a war to outwit and outrun the enemy...which is everything. sun and moon they can count on...but sometimes it rains. and sometimes a fly should ignore the chicken about crossing the road.
in my back yard there are, also, insects. my two favorites are preying mantises and dragonflys. you ever wondered what that battle would look like? i once watched a lellowjacket bee and large spider go at it in her web. it was brutal and intriguing. i could see both grappling for position while trying not to give up the high ground. it was an insane battle. the bee was still bigger than the spider. the bee had a stinger it was trying get the spider with. but the spider had web it could run around and a bunch of legs that worked the wire in expert fashion. i left before it was done. i was dealing with another cabin cleaner who wanted to kill me and was wielding a hammer, because i tongued his girl (who had briefly dumped him for 2 hours the night before when we we were all really, really, really not in control of our wits...mostly mine. i was learning how 'briefly' an eternity of hate is). and i had to make plans in case he really came after me. so, i didn't see the end of the fight.
i do wonder who would win between the preying mantis and the dragonfly? one thing about having a garden: i can be the throatcuttiest pirate and a don, because i never once have to get my hands bloodied. and if i'm questioned i can answer " i was pruning the roses".
such immunity, indemnity, disconnection, allocation of innocence...call it what you will. i love it.
i never get a parking tincket in my neighborhood.