Tuesday, May 15

The Bug Hunters

monday afterschool special
(Examining a bush covered in ladybug grubs)
monday afterschool special
(Digging up pill bugs)
monday afterschool special
(Stalking a trail of ants)

With the warm weather comes bright green leaves, colorful flowers, and the kids' main occupation: bug watching (and catching). Already our insect tanks are full of beetle grubs, preying mantis eggs, and caterpillars munching on leaves. Every trip to the park is an opportunity to find new life. Spring is a little easier for us parents: the buzzing and feeding has not yet begun. Soon there will be cicadas and butterflies to be caught, drawn, then released. Preying mantis will be identified and fed painstakingly by daily catches of smaller insects. Beetles will be hunted and boasted of to friends. Though in my own childhood I limited my insect hunting to catching grasshoppers to live in Mason jar terrariums, Jason had a much greater interest in the insect kingdom that has infected his offspring.
Of course, we are not the only bug-crazed family on the block. Most kids in Japan (and their parents-though usually their fathers) spend the hotter months with a net in one hand and a bug tank in the other. It is a national pastime.
It has also led to Sebastian's new dream: to become a nature photographer. This comes, no doubt, from a combination of hands-on experience in the field and hours of BBC documentaries watched during the cooler months. He spends his quieter hours copying drawings from his many nature encyclopedias, focusing on seasonally-appropriate ones. And he is getting quite good at it. Lately he's been taking his own photos so he can draw them later. I really admire his dedication. And though his life may take a different direction, the lessons he is learning from his careful examination of the living world will no doubt be a part of his life forever.
(one of Sebastian's pictures from yesterday's bug-hunt)

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