Red Velvet

I'm impatient. I can't wait for the blooms on the back door ivy bush to open. It gets absolutely smothered in bees, wasps, hoveflies, hornets, flies and butterflies. All the buds are still tightly closed and all I could find today was a tiny green Nigma walckenaeri spider with its fruit fly prey and this pin-head sized velvet mite.

Velvet mites are arachnids but not spiders. They have eight legs and use the front pair as feelers. That's why they're blurred in my pic as they're waving about all the time. The males construct love gardens strewn with spermatophores with silken paths leading into them. If a passing female is impressed and enters he will dance for her and she will sit on one of his packages of sperm and impregnate herself. (As long as a rival male doesn't turn up, trash the garden and usurp the first male.) In India these bugs are considered aphrodisiacs and oil from them is known as Indian Viagra.

Today's poem is Spring and Fall by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

I found it strange that Englishman GMH used the word 'Fall' for autumn. It sounds American to me. I've done some reading around this. I agree with one commentator who thinks that Margaret is not a child but GMH himself. Children don't get weepy about leaves falling from trees but adults do. I find autumn more poignant every year, particularly on bright summery days. One knows they cannot last. GMH is mourning for himself I think.

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