Semper Fidelis - Semper Discentes

It’s What I Do

In Entomology-General, Expeditions on April 2, 2013 at 2:33 pm

For the past ten days or so, my wife has been involved with a teachers’ workshop in Montana.  Being a generous and convivial sort, she asked me to go along on the long drive from the Missouri Ozarks, knowing that I’d never seen that beautiful part of the country.

I was, obviously, not involved with the scheduled activities, so I had essentially ALL the daylight hours of EVERY day to do exactly as I pleased–through Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, and I’m now sitting in a hotel room in Sheridan, Wyoming, on the way home.

When we’d get together in the evenings, she usually socialized with some of her new colleagues, and she sometimes even introduced me.  “Well, George,” they’d usually say, “I suppose you’ve been out seeing the sights of Montana while we’ve been taking the workshop tours.”

“I suppose you might say so.  I’ve really been spending most of my time on my hobby, while you folks have been working.”  “Really?  What’s that?”

“I study dragonflies.”

(Insert a long verbal pause here)


“It’s fun.  It’s what I do.”

I have heard it said that, for an activity to REALLY qualify as a “hobby”, it must possess a rather large measure of uselessness.  My wife often criticizes my hobby, although I find it to be harmless entertainment, and certainly more acceptable (and cheaper) than heavy drinking, gambling, or chasing women.  I’ve only been involved in the pursuit for a couple of years, but I’m building up a good little odonate library, got myself a net, some chemicals, and a microscope, and I’ve met, and correspond with, dozens of fascinating folks who share my weird avocation.  Some of these guys even study dragonflies PROFESSIONALLY!  I especially like the daintier little damselflies, close cousins to the larger, stouter dragonflies, since they’re much slower, stupider, and FAR easier to catch.  I believe that I’m not being overly immodest when I say that I probably know more about dragonflies and damselflies than ANY other person living in Douglas County (Booger County), Missouri!

I’ve spent these past days wading in lakes and streams throughout the Great Plains.  Just today, while lolling indolently in the passenger seat of our minivan …er…SUV on our way south, I yelled at Amanda to stop the car and pull over to the side of the road.  We were racing down I-90 in Montana, very close to the Little Bighorn Battlefield that we’d visited on our inbound trip a week ago.  “I’ve just GOT to see if I can catch some cool damselflies in the Little Bighorn River.” 

She did.

I did.

It’s what I do.

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