What meaningful connections could rise out of a mix like this? It all has to do with pathogens.
Two weeks ago, I set out to keep a Reading History in the hope that I might make some connections between what I’ve learned in school, what I’m learning as a water activist and naturalist, and what I’m reading now.
“One of the downsides (or is it an upside?) of dragonfly monitoring is you begin to care—deeply—about things you may not have thought about before. A wetland is converted to a shopping center. The new parking lot that makes it easier to shop comes with a price in nature. Instead of celebrating a new coffee place, you wonder which dragonflies—and what associated plants and insects and members of the aquatic community—have vanished to make way for it. You see a meandering creek turn into a tightly channeled stream and you think of the effects on the underlying substrate, the bottom of the waterway.” —Cindy Crosby, Chasing Dragonflies
“Though people in the Kunene Region had often told Owen-Smith that they saw no value in wildlife, it turned out that they saw many values. Like Aldo Leopold, they believed that it was possible to appreciate a species for its own sake and make intelligent use of it, too.”
Chasing Dragonflies: A Natural, Cultural, and Personal History by Cindy Crosby, is an engaging, beautifully illustrated introduction to these remarkable insects. As warm as it is informative, this book will interest gardeners, readers of literary nonfiction, and those intrigued by transformation, whether in nature or our personal lives. (Original watercolors by Peggy Macnamara)
*Coachella Valley Preserve, Southern California
“After learning about the dragonfly’s life cycle, I found that I never look at a pond or a stream or a river—or even a puddle—in the same way. Dragonfly populations of various species are directly linked to how a stream flows, or to the substrate in the bottom of a pond, or to the disturbance of a watershed. Drill a well? Your dragonfly populations may change. Channel a stream? Ditto. When water quality and availability change, our dragonfly populations and species compositions may change as well. Sure—dragonflies as an order of insects are tough. They are long-term survivors. But development, pollution, and climate change may have an impact on them over time.” —Cindy Crosby
I’ve been following Cindy’s blog, Tuesdays in the Tallgrass: Exploring exterior and interior landscapes through the tallgrass prairie, for a year or more. Each week she posts photos, quotes, and reflections from her prairie walks in northeastern Illinois that renew our spirits through her thoughtful meditations.
For the first two years I spent learning about the environment and climate change, I read articles online that I joyfully shared to social media. At that time, I was reading about everything! A year later, I became a water activist and I created this blog, continuing to share links to what I was learning through my activism.
While I still read online, I actually think reading books improves my attention span, so I made the switch to reading library books and e-books when it works out that way.
I’m hoping that by reading longer books it helps me develop the interest and the ability to write about what I’m reading so I can connect it meaningfully to what I remember learning in school and what I physically experience in nature—past, present, and future.