The Visual West: Last Flight of the Insects

 

Dozens of dragonflies zoom  through my vegetable garden this time of year. Like hunchbacked sprites, they perch on the hog wire holding up the ever-heavier tomato plants, waiting for an unsuspecting fly or a particularly attractive mate to zip by.

 

In the shallows of mountain lakes and irrigation ponds, blue damselflies, wings folded behind (unlike dragonflies), play the same games before the waters freeze over.

And everywhere, in the grasses and weeds along hay fields and gardens, the sticky-legged rustle of the grasshoppers, a leathery army slowed only slightly by the foxes, cats and kestrels that feast on them, but ultimately done in by the inexorable tilt of the earth toward winter.

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Paul Larmer is the executive director of High Country News, and takes photos from his base in Paonia, Colorado.