There have not been many Monarch butterflies about this year, and I did a wild and wobbly dance a few days ago when a single glorious specimen flew past my freckled nose and alighted in a stand of blooming milkweed near the trail into the woods - in my excitement, I almost dropped the camera.
A few minutes later, the first male cicada of the season started to broadcast its call for a mate from somewhere high on the ridge, then another and another and another. Again and again, their tymbal muscles contracted and relaxed, the rhythmic vibration resulting in what is, to me anyway, summer's most resonant and engaging musical score. All the cares of the day fell away, and time stood still as I listened to that hopeful chorus.
There are moments one remembers in the depths of winter, and this was one of them. How sweet it was to stand along the trail that afternoon and listen to cicadas rumble and rasp in the trees overhead, to watch a small bright wonder flutter and swoop and feed in fields of waving milkweed. Life simply doesn't get any better than this, and it doesn't get any wilder either, leaving out the affair of the bear, of course.