mid-may log: glowing granite, gnat swarm, swift ditch water

Sun straight in my face as I set out to our ditch this eve with Mag the dog. On the asphalt, many grey inch-long grasshoppers jumped away from my steps. Mid-May and they are that big, I noted. Approaching the ditch, could see the high water from 20 feet back, and Mag entered to wade on the edge.

Soft dirt of the ditch road is deep. Duck tracks are all around. Our Precambrian uplift towards the east – the Sandia Mountains – start to glow red – the sun has set. The gnats above my head are moving with me. My dog chooses the way over to the bigger Clear Ditch and I follow her. After her I step over the fence and onto the trail where I know animals are starting to move in the cover of dusk. I urge Mag to stay with me as she nuzzles the burrows. The gnats in their hundreds are still above me.

Sounds like children, but it’s geese honking, taking off from the flooded field. We pad over the wooden bridge, and I follow Mag down the bank. I fear the water is too deep for her – but the edge was shallow. It’s too dark to continue over to the river, so we head back. Happy to see a few bats dipping above my path.

The light is brightest in the southwest – the call of that wild territory. Through the trees on the western horizon the three planets shine. We in the valley are blessed with spring run-off.

light to the southwest

light to the southwest


7 Responses to “mid-may log: glowing granite, gnat swarm, swift ditch water”

  1. May 17, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    What a blessing – and all the creatures, including the gnats, are happy for that spring runoff. I love your mention of the bats. The Mexican freetails are back here, too. Bracken cave, near San Antonio, has the world’s largest colony, and they can be seen on radar when they leave the cave at sunset.

    Your photo is beautiful. I love the pinks and blues. They remind me of the Belt of Venus – the phenomenon of the blue earth’s shadow cast against a pink, glowing sky.

    • May 17, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      Linda, I have never heard of the Belt of Venus – thank you! Currently I am teaching a family science class on astronomy and weather – Day Sky / Night Sky – and I will research this to be able to share.
      I enjoy your replies. Your curiosity and learning is shared in each one.

    • May 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      Also wanted to say that I was just in San Antone mid April for the Science Teacher Conference – NSTA. I was very taken with that city – had been there 20 years ago, but didn’t experience it like this time. All the limestone. Now I have another reason to go back – Bracken Cave! They are a great indicator of the balance, their presence. Bats here in NM have had a virus. Have you heard about it?

      • June 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm

        I hadn’t heard about the virus, but now I have. There’s another one afflicting colonies up north, but it appears to be one of those endemic things that’s been around forever, isn’t getting worse and certainly isn’t going to spread to our areas. It likes truly cold temperatures, and even caves like Bracken are too warm for it.

        We’re warm, too. We hit 100 for the first time this year on Thursday. Oh, my. But then again – it is June!

  2. May 28, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Loved the descriptions in this brief adventure, brought me right along with you! In your neck of the woods there is a concentration of life in the spring, and taking a good look is well worth it. Nice!

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