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03 May, 2012

The Insect Sect: Procession of the Species 2012

This year marked the fourth time I've been to the Procession of the Species (I missed it one year, only because another sacred ritual needed performing elsewhere), one of Olympia's finest moments. Or, as my more conservative townspeople gripe: when the "freaks are out," a "polytheistic" display. They are right, of course, and I glory in it. 

Every year, there is some taxon or other that sticks out in my mind. Like the ferocious Rhinocerocitidae of 2008, or the Mycetozoans of 2011. This year, the Insecta Class graduated to the top. I recognized a few from before, but this year they stood out.

Besides some great, creative costumes on the outside, the mammals inside seemed to have embodied their insect species thoroughly, moving like the species they represented. The giant praying mantis was fluid, stilt-walking with threatening grace. The fly (below), buzzed frenetically from place to place, preening and head-turning just like a fly, hoping for one of the other creatures to drop dead or at least drop dung, I suppose. (Meanwhile, a dung beetle followed the white buffalo, knowing it would pay off eventually.) 

Silly bird, flamboyant feathers are no match for the Lord of the Flies

And the mastery of movement did not end there. A line of leaf-cutter ants marched along, taking time now and then to dance as ants are wont to do when the entomologists look the other way. And although it's not an insect, and it's dance was more that of an extremely mellow Chinese dragon, the centipede did damn well, considering all those legs it has to keep track of.

Ants dance in their pants

And of course, the monarch butterflies. A huge flight of them wrapping up the parade with a dance that was great, even if it did not feature them swarming a mineral-rich downtown puddle for a sip. I'd post a photo, but a bunch of people already have, and most are better than mine.

In 2012, the Procession walked with six legs. 


  1. Every year I love this post more!

  2. Better than slime mold? Hot damn!