Hiding in plain sight

It takes but the promise of warmth for life to bubble to the surface.  True cold remains an oddity here, a brief flirtation with that which has no hold on our world.  What freezes the lake today melts it tomorrow; what covers the world with snow this hour brushes it into history the next; what chills us into parkas and gloves this morning guides us into shorts and t-shirts this evening.

And so we in Texas are never truly without our insect brethren, never truly sans the company of the most prolific class of animals ever imagined.  For that which makes up more than half the planet’s biomass does not leave us but instead only rests and waits for the spot of warm sunshine that must certainly come.

So today’s snow follows only on the springtime temperatures that cloaked the world on Sunday.  Even as I stood on the patio letting bright skies and warm temperatures envelope me, I was not the only one who saw fit to bask in the delight of a comfortable winter day.

A rough stink bug (Parabrochymena arborea) on a tree trunk (2009_12_19_045499)

Dark ale sipped from a cold bottle did nothing to sway my attention.  My sunglasses could not hide the creature who appeared only in that secretive realm that exists betwixt light and dark, betwixt sunshine and shadow.

A rough stink bug (Parabrochymena arborea) on a tree trunk (2009_12_19_045505)

Climbing the tree before me was this small and appreciable life.  It moved deliberately yet without course: up then down, left then right, in circles from time to time.  Yet never did it leave the border where its self became a whole of halves, one lit and one unlit.

A rough stink bug (Parabrochymena arborea) on a tree trunk (2009_12_19_045514)

I watched it dance in the ethereal realm of dichotomies.  I watched it meander through a world split asunder by the sun.  I watched it travel a path where the center line cut existence in two.  And I watched it with great joy.

A rough stink bug (Parabrochymena arborea) on a tree trunk (2009_12_19_045537)

It takes but the promise of warmth for life to bubble to the surface.  True comfort remains a constant here, a friend always at the ready who cloaks us at a moment’s notice.  What heats our skin today will heat it tomorrow; what blankets the world with earnest glow this hour will brighten it the next; what melts away the chills of momentary winter always stays nearby with reliable kinship.

A rough stink bug (Parabrochymena arborea) on a tree trunk (2009_12_19_045552)

And through it all, more often than not the most prolific life on earth hides right in front of our eyes.

[photos of a rough stink bug (Parabrochymena arborea) on the tree outside my patio]

3 thoughts on “Hiding in plain sight”

  1. I am always excited by great examples of natural camouflage. This stink bug is great! This is the kind of treat you get when you sit still and look around for awhile – so worth it.

    I had been expecting rain on the day we had such pretty sun, and consequently, found myself knee-deep in cleaning out my garage instead of walking the trails. Argh!!

    1. I’m laughing about your rain comment, Amber. I too thought it was going to rain. I’d swear it was in the forecast. That’s why I stayed home. But nope, sunshine instead. A gloriously warm day that really brought out a lot of critters. Winter might be my favorite season, but every part of me knows there’s more life to be seen when it’s warm than can be found when it’s cold. Well, I hope you got the garage cleaned up while waiting for the rain.

      And I’m with you on loving natural camouflage. It always fascinates me how many ways nature has found to hide what it’s doing.

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