I have been spending some time outdoors, enjoying the sights and sounds of summer. Having the yard be lush and full with flowers and foliage makes it a perfect respite and refuge at the end of the day.

Young squirrels are learning where to play and find food, so are the young rabbits in the neighborhood. The simple act of seeing these animals never fails to bring a smile. On days when I don’t believe I have time to watch squirrels playing, I often remind myself that the sense of joy and calm this simple act brings is well worth the time.

In past summers we have been visited by all manner of birds. A nesting pair of hawks in the neighborhood have significantly changed our ecosystem. From the screeching call of the birds to the feathers of some of their victims, the presence of the hawks has been disturbing and an unwelcome change.

This spring we were visited by all manner of finches, as well as a hummingbird. I fear the hawks have made our yard a less than welcoming place for these birds. I hope the pair move on before the fall. The extended visit last fall by a hummingbird was truly wonderful, even magical. I want that again.

But my wife and I have discovered a different visitor that is just as magical, after you get to know him: a dragonfly.

I’m not a big fan of insects in general, but I have grown to appreciate a dragonfly who has set up residence in the back yard.

The dragonfly will perch on a shepherd’s hook that has a couple of hanging baskets suspended on it. When my wife told me about this particular dragonfly exhibiting this type of behavior, I will admit I found it a bit hard to believe. But after spending several evenings grilling supper near this shepherd’s hook where this dragonfly was perched, I admit my wife was correct that it was pretty cool. 

While initially being creeped out, my wife did some research on dragonflies and learned that they are pretty cool. In addition to being able to hover like hummingbirds, dragonflies hunt and eat a lot. They consume 10 percent to 15 percent of their own weight per day on insects such as mosquitoes, termites, deerflies, blackflies, horseflies and midges. One article I read said “They make welcome residents in the yard, as they’ll keep it far less buggy. Think of it as the insect equivalent of getting a cat to solve your mouse problem.”

They are able to do this because more than 80 percent of their brain is used for processing visual information, and it is believed that some species can see objects up to 30 feet away and detect movement as far as 60 feet away.

In almost every part of the world, the Dragonfly symbolizes change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization. The change that is often referred to has its source in mental and emotional maturity and understanding the deeper meaning of life.

Our little friend is very cool for a bug. 

Adult dragonflies only live for two months, so I’m going to enjoy his company while he’s around. I’m going to do the same with summer.

As always, I welcome your comments. 

You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading; I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same. 

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