Monday, 2 November 2015

winter gnats


All Hallows Eve, and all along the tops of the Leylandii that bordered the opposite bank of the canal, great clouds of small insects swirled, silent murmurations. Sometimes bigger insects (dragonflies?) darted into the cloud, hawking at them. Chris and Jinny from next door came out to admire the sight too; it was Jinny who learned from her dad that winter gnats is what these are.

I remembered a walk down the Honddu valley one Maytime, from Capel y Ffin to Llanthony. All along the river, the mayflies danced up and down, great clouds of them rising and falling. Returning the same way that evening, they lay dead all long the path.

But the winter gnats were still at it the next day. Not for them the poetic living-for-just-a-day.

A passing couple, properly attired in Stout Walking Apparel, approached, their trekking poles clacking on the path. Wishing to share the wonder, I pointed out the swirling insects and said "Look! ...."

The woman looked anxiously straight ahead and bade me a distant "Good afternoon", and they continued out of sight, looking neither to right nor to left.

Fair enough, you never know what you might catch from waterpikeys....