The Slow Demise of a Flying Friend…

The days are getting longer and I am suddenly thinking about her again, harbinger of Spring and Summer that her species is. I killed her last October. Not intentionally, but in the end it hardly mattered the deed was done. The cool days and nights of Fall had just begun to revive my outdoor red and yellow Hibiscus trees, beaten and bested by four months of brutally hot and humid weather. Over the Summer an infestation of thousands of tiny white flies had colonized the undersides of their leaves, transforming their thick, lustrous surfaces, once dense with chlorophyll, into yellowed, tissue-thin shades against the burning sun. The prior year’s visitation of beauteous bumblebees and butterflies, attracted by a bounty of flowering plants draped over the iron railing off our living room terrace – a kind of natural theatre scrim – was a distant memory. The heat had even chased away the hummingbirds, whose memories of the previous Summer’s supply of nectar were dashed on discovering their favored Hibiscus blooms had been drenched with insecticide, rendering their sweet potion undrinkable. Flying in to investigate, a ruby-throated one would flit from forlorn flower to forlorn flower, hovering in confusion before taking off, thirsty, across the Kentucky fields. Conscious of the ills of pesticides I’d made every effort to honor the organic route to pest control, my costly concoction of cinnamon and rosemary oils accomplishing nothing in the end. Come mid-Summer my Hibiscus, Gardenias and Oleanders were under full siege, and I reluctantly engaged the potency of inorganic insecticide. Failing to identify whatever karmic purpose there might have been in allowing the plants to die, which I was convinced they would have done if I didn’t take action, I spent a small fortune on sprays trying to keep them alive. In truth, the… Continue reading The Slow Demise of a Flying Friend…