One of our favorite pastimes in Minnesota is talking about the weather. This isn’t because we’re superficial or boring; rather, it’s because our weather is so darned interesting. Last Tuesday is a perfect example.
The day started gloriously, with bright sunshine and blue skies. I wanted to be outside — but since I was already lobster-pink from my adventure on Saturday, I decided instead to spend my rare weekday off at the Como Conservatory.
I got distracted on the way to the beautiful Victorian greenhouse, though, by the “pollinator garden.”
Just as advertised, it was alive with the buzzing of busy bees.
But something else soon drew my eye. A hummingbird?!
Nope. A hummingbird moth. I don’t know what purpose this mimicry serves, but the illusion is perfect.
I also found some other bugs we might not usually hail as pollinators. Like this iridescent beetle …
… and this cheeky little fellow I dubbed “Mister Mephistopheles.”
Although Mister Meph looked sleek from a distance, upon closer inspection I saw he was covered with tiny hairs to better collect the pollen.
By now it was hotter than Hades and I was redder than Mephistopheles himself, so I headed home. That’s when I got the updated weather forecast:
If you don’t talk Minnesotan, this means “We’re all going to perish in an apocalypse of hail, wind, and maybe a few tornadoes.” And soon enough, I believed it as the sky turned an ominous shade of bluish-green.
Then the wind started, and the rain.
It wasn’t until the next morning, though, that I saw the extent of the damage. The sidewalks were littered with leaves and bits of bark, and trees blocked several streets.
In one spot, sparks from downed power lines had even caused a small fire.
My mind turned to the little creatures I’d photographed only 16 hours earlier. Had any of them survived? As if on cue, a neighbor’s garden caught my attention. I was relieved (and surprised) to note that even the most delicate flowers were unscathed.
Then I spotted an eastern cottontail rabbit: She was a bit bedraggled, but none the worse for wear.
And while this little fellow looked perplexed by his new split-level squirrel condo, he too seemed otherwise unfazed.
By the end of my walk, the only creature I was worried about was my clueless neighbor.
Although I admired his skill in lifting the fire tape above his car as he circumnavigated the fallen tree, I also couldn’t help cringing.
“Did you notice you just drove over a bunch of power lines?” I asked him. “Oh really?” he replied. “Oops …”
In the end, no tornadoes materialized in the Twin Cities — but there was widespread wind damage, and five days later the clean-up continues in some neighborhoods.
As I said: It’s never boring here!