I often take five minutes to sit in my arbour by the herb-garden pond - it's peaceful and so restorative to the spirit, whatever the time of day, whatever the weather. There is always something to see - this is what I have seen just half an hour ago.
I've loved watching the dragonflies emerging recently, climbing the reeds, squeezing from their nymphal cases (I've always missed that part so far!), pumping up and stretching their wings and flittering off on the breeze...but this one was not so lucky.
For some reason, it had not made it and had fallen back into the pond - already quite clearly completely dead when I discovered it. A shimmering creature transformed into an inert carcase. I only espied it as my eye wandered idly over the surface of the pond, from the lovely small waterlily, to the site of quite considerable activity around the dead minibeast.
Though one part of me is always saddened to see a deceased creature, in nature, nothing is wasted - my five minutes of contemplation turned into ten of fascination, as I spotted numerous creatures already present, all intent on extracting nutrients from the corpse. The water-boatman (upper right) was scudding across the surface to its target, with another (not visible) beneath the head, already devouring what it could access, several pond-skaters were clamouring around the eyes, and a newt was thrashing about, ripping and tearing at the tail end until it successfully extracted a few fragments of tissue
Beauty and the beasts - life and death and life from death... all in a few centimetres of water. A story of constant wonder, if only I open my eyes and look, here at Autumn Cottage.