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Examiner
  • Lynn Youngblood: Wonders of a Missouri summer

  • One of the nice things about the holidays is getting together with friends and family.

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  • One of the nice things about the holidays is getting together with friends and family.
    The Fourth of July is one of two times in the year when we get to see my brother Matthew’s family from California. My niece and nephew, Audrey and Dylan, are great kids and true nature lovers, like their parents. Both kids have been camping since before they could walk, canoeing since they were tots, and on the backs of their parents hitting the trails before they could hike. They have a nature shelf at home for unusual twigs, rocks, shells or other “finds.” They read books on nature, sing nature songs and have grown from nature babies to delightful young children.
    Along the way, Audrey and Dylan have absorbed many facts about the natural world. It is quite a joy to see their faces light up when they catch a toad or discover a new moth. On Independence Day, Audrey came up and showed everyone the moth she had just found. It was quite unusual, with large brown wings that split up the back and revealed a large, bowed thorax with a tail that started downward then swooped straight up. I had never seen one before and after much Internet searching, Audrey and I determined it was a very cool Mohawk moth.
    When the kids were smaller, the family was only able to make it back for Thanksgiving, but as they have grown they have been able to come back for several weeks in the summer. Audrey and Dylan love to see the wildlife in Missouri that they never get to see at home. As any child in the Midwest will attest to, one of the best things about growing up here in the summers are the lightening bugs.
    Did you know there are no lightening bugs in California? Imagine being a kid and seeing them for the first time or, only getting to see them for only a few weeks a year. They also enjoy the different birds we have like cardinals and blue jays. In California, they have Stellar’s jays, and scrub jays, but not Blue Jays.
    My sister, Margaret, also lives in California. I remember a few summers ago and when we were all outside and the cicadas started singing. Matthew and Margaret immediately looked at each other and quietly said, “Cicadas.” It had been a long time since they had heard them. No cicadas in California, either.
    The Midwest may not have Napa Valley, the Golden Gate Bridge, or California poppies, but, we do have lightening bugs, cicadas and Mohawk moths.
    Reach Lynn Youngblood at TheGreenSpace@sbcglobal.net.
     
     
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