Texture, like color, presents itself to our eye and fingertips absolutely everywhere we turn in the garden.
Every petal, leaf, trunk and bit of gravel or soil present intriguing textures for us to explore and enjoy.
But so do the creatures who live here with us.
And of all the creatures buzzing and skittering around the garden today, our welcome guest, hummingbird moth, presented the softest and most inviting texture.
Would you love to reach and and stroke its velvety back?
Hummingbird moths are much calmer guests than hummingbirds.
Though their movements from flower to flower are so similiar that many people mistake the moths for the birds; the moths are less skittish around humans with cameras.
This guy allowed me to take perhaps 20 shots over several minutes, asking only the nourishment of Lantana nectar in return.
The hummingbirds who interrupted the photo shoot buzzed in and out before I could focus on them; chasing one another away from these Lantana flowers, and across the roof of our house towards the hummingbird delicacies growing around in the back.
They are also silky soft; immensely “petable” creatures… but I’ve yet to master the art of hummingbird whispering to draw them to land on a finger.
And so my focus returned to the little hummingbird moth; the insect who masquerades as a bird.
When in doubt, look closely for antennae, compound insect eyes, and clear wings. This identifies the creature as an insect, not a true bird.
This is the first one we’ve seen this season.
It is unlikely he is alone, so we will keep an eye out for his companions.
Other visitors sporting interesting textures today included butterflies, dragonflies, a grasshopper, and bees.
I was especially disturbed to find several lifeless bees, their bodies resting on leaves.
It is most unusual to find a dead bee here in the garden.
It may be another sign of the advancing season.
Just as a few leaves have begun to show gold and red, warning that autumn is coming sooner than we expect; so too the animals begin to respond to the ever turning wheels of time.
But our garden was alive for another summer day, animated and buzzing with a satisfying array of creatures.
Scaly skinks climbed the walls and window screens of the house. Shiny blue black wasps played in the grasses.
Bright red cardinals, and their mates, foraged among the ripening Hickory nuts.
And finally, the garden has come alive with several species of butterflies.
Noticing the varying textures of all this life is simply another way to appreciate its beauty.
Another way to drink it all in, while August lasts.
Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014