When It Rains



When the Monocacy overflows its banks, my oldest son pulls on his waders, mounts his bike, and speeds to the river, frantic lest he miss a moment of the spectacle, but, as he apparently needs someone with whom to share the wonder (and, amazingly, his active Instagram account doesn’t seem to count), he even more frantically insists that I come along. Secretly grateful to be wanted for something other than a ride to the airport, I follow along, prodded by the intermittent “hurry up!”s made necessary by my bikeless status. Someone, after all, needs to hold the dog’s leash and stash her poop bags, not to mention stop to clean up once in a while.

I haven’t looked at any flood charts, but my son and I reckon that this week the river was the highest it’s been since a stretch of rainy days in March 2014. While the “island” wasn’t  completely underwater, as we have seen in the past, it was shrunken by the swollen waters. The bluebells had become aquatic flowers, and flotillas of logs, branches, leaf debris and trash (I could make out plastic bottles, the distinctive red of a coke can, and the occasional flash of artificial color) drifted by at a frantic pace. A pair of darting swallows and the voice of a nearby kingfisher made me wonder about the other animals, not lucky enough to have wings, whose holes and homes were now underwater.

Err,um, could you like, maybe, give us a lift?

And I do mean to include those animals with more than two or four feet, like this rather unfortunate spider and possibly doomed caterpillar. Honestly, it’s been a rough spring for the insects and arachnids, in pupal form or otherwise, what with the snow and lingering cold. And now this? Bother.

Not far into our explorations, we encountered a very large snapping turtle that certainly didn’t mind the extra water. My son poked it with a stick (of course), which provoked it into an aggressive hiss, which, in turn, provoked our Rosie-pup into lunging after it in our defense. Knowing that she would lose that battle, I held tight to the leash and suffered her whimpering frustration as the beast disappeared into the muddy depths.

The snapping turtle is here somewhere: trust me.

Next week: cleaning it all up.

3 thoughts on “When It Rains

  1. Oh dear! I fear for that poor caterpillar.

    We had an extraordinarily long hot summer here, so I’ve never seen so many visiting butterflys. Yellow and Red Admirals, mostly, and Monarchs.

    The Monarchs are immigrants from Australia – it’s assumed they arrived as the result of a migratory flight being blown across the Tasman. They’re welcome, because they don’t devour native plants. Even though milkweed (or swan plant, as we call it) isn’t native either, the garden centres stock plenty in spring and summer so people can get them for their gardens.


    1. How interesting that the monarchs made it to Australia. What came first: the monarchs or the milkweed? Since milkweed is non-native, I suppose the monarchs must be rather grateful for adventurous gardeners. Or has it simply spread as so many non-native plants do?


      1. I think Monarchs may be native to Australia – not sure how. There’s also a butterfly there that they call the Blue Monarch, but I’ve never seen one.

        Perhaps Australian Monarchs (and milkweed) go back to the time before Continental drift, when South America was closer than it is today?

        Monarchs arrived in New Zealand before milkweed did, so Heaven knows what the caterpillars ate after the first flock was blown here. However, milkweed (or Swan Plant, as we call it) must have been imported soon after, because Monarchs are well established now, and much admired.

        Liked by 1 person

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