Stop the Presses!

Calico pennant with background blurred - w sig
Calico pennant male on equisetum (aka scouring rush)

This isn’t what I’d intended to write today, but something awesome has happened.

Last week I was expecting a long-awaited book, but it was lost in the mail and didn’t arrive on Wednesday as it should have. Aargh! A couple days later, Amazon re-ordered it for me and told me it would arrive on Sunday. Sunday came and went and no package. Double aargh! Why was I so frustrated, you ask?

Well, the book is Chasing Dragonflies, the newest work by my dragonfly kindred spirit, Cindy Crosby. She has authored or collaborated on about 20 books, and her book The Tallgrass Prairie: An Introduction, was a big help to me in learning more about native plants. So I was thrilled last year when I had the opportunity to contribute some information for her new dragonfly book, and was anxious to find out if any of my stories had made it to print.

But let’s go back to last week for a moment. As I was doing my regular dragonfly survey last Thursday afternoon, I was approached by a smiling man who looked familiar but I couldn’t place him. He reminded me that we’d met briefly once last year and that he’d subscribed to my blog. (Oops, sorry Ron!) He then told me that he’d read Cindy Crosby’s new book and that she had mentioned me several times and even quoted me. This little tidbit of information served to stoke my excitement further, and I conducted the rest of my dragonfly survey with a huge smile on my face.

Chasing Dragonflies book
Finally, in my hands!!

Cut back to today, when I had impatiently resigned myself to just waiting for the book to show up…eventually….  And then, suddenly, it was here!!

I’ve ignored phone calls, chores, and emails today so I could dive into it, and I’m loving it.  Cindy writes about the lives of Odonata, as well as the community of people who study them. I think it would even be engaging to someone who doesn’t particularly have an interest in dragonflies, but just likes to read about the natural world. And who knows, it might motivate more people to join us in monitoring these under-studied insects and their habitats.

Over the past year as Cindy and I have commented on each other’s blogs, I’ve grown to think of her as my dragonfly-sister-from-another-mother. (Ha, this will be the first time she’s heard that one.) I feel a kinship with her through our shared concern for both native plants and Odonata. It’s so nice to know there are women being recognized for their expertise in the male-dominated world of dragonflies. She’s an inspiration to me in many ways.

If you haven’t seen her blog yet, I highly recommend that you check it out. You can subscribe so you’ll get an email each Tuesday with a link to her weekly posts. It’s called Tuesdays in the Tallgrass. She walks her Chicago-area prairies regularly and photographs plants and insects, writing about them in ways that I can only dream of doing.

I’ve already found the places in the book where she used my material (pages 67, 108, and 117), and I have to sheepishly admit that I’m delighted to see myself quoted in print. That’s only happened a couple other times in my entire life.  Maybe I’m silly, but it’s something that has lifted my spirits a great deal today. In this time of isolation and social distancing, it makes me feel that I’m a valued member of a special community, and that my opinions matter. (Hmmm, I should write sometime about the strength of the human desire to be acknowledged and feel valued….)

What the heck, I’ll confess that when I saw that package in my mailbox today, I felt a little bit like Navin Johnson in this clip from the 1979 movie, The Jerk:

So thank you, Cindy, for a wonderfully captivating book and for allowing me to be a tiny part of it. And congratulations on such a successful book project!


  1. Kim, what a kind and encouraging post! You and your Ohio colleagues are an important part of the new book (so much dedication to the art of the chase!). Thank you again for your generous input, and sharing of experiences. When I think of the best things about writing that book, meeting people like you who love and care for the natural world — and are so willing to share it with others — is one of my greatest joys and take-aways. So grateful! — Cindy 🙂


  2. Congratulations! I’m close to self-publishing a book of images of the most common dragonflies and damselflies of Wisconsin, so it was exciting to read this post!
    Thank you.


  3. Kim,
    It was so nice seeing you at Wiregrass Lake and sharing the news with you about your contributions to Cindy Crosby’s new book. Thanks to both of you for being a catalyst for my newfound interest and passion for dragonflies.


  4. Congratulations, Kim!! Ha ha! That movie clip brought back memories of Steve Martin movies when we were much younger. Look at you now… I’m quite sure you’ll get your book written and published long before I ever make the time to get to mine. My days are so busy with “experiences” that I rarely find time to write.


  5. Congratulations! It does boost your ego to see yourself in print…3 times must truly be an affirmation! Her book sounds most interesting. I will look into that as it sounds like something I would love to read. The photo at the beginning of your post is outstanding. It seems almost three dimensional.


    • Thanks, Lisa! I always love to find a dragonfly perched on equisetum. Calico pennants are very cooperative and I had perfect lighting for that particular shot. I was very pleased with it!


  6. Thanks for mentioning Cindy Crosby. I’ve just signed up for her blog. Congrats on your quotes in her book.


  7. Kim-

    Glad to see you have been published!! While I was working, I got quoted in two magazines and I know how good that feels so enjoy basking in the glow of celebrity in this book- I might even buy it!



    • Hi Daryl! It’s weird how it feels so validating to see yourself in print, isn’t it? It seems lots of Americans would do anything to see themselves on tv, but print is where it’s at for me. 🙂 Now to get myself focused on writing my own book….


    • Hi Judy! What a small world it seems sometimes. It always thrills me to find new connections between the people I respect and admire, and I’m not surprised that you enjoy her writing too. I hope all’s well with you.


  8. You express yourself so well- I felt your frustration with having to wait on your package, your excitement in the encounter with the man who told you that you are “in the book” and your joy when the book arrived. I love that you are a woman who lifts up other women and I’m glad I can call you my friend.


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