A buzz, too gentle to be ignored but too thick for comfort, drew my attention to a logpile by Venus Loop one day shortly after noon. There were two, to be exact, heaps of branches, twigs and minor trunks on each side of the trail, the probable aftermath of a fall that straddled the way before it was hewn and swept off the path. The wood was still firm, certainly months younger than other nearby chunks that sat in a bed of their own chips and crumbled to the touch, too dry and stale to feed all but the least demanding of hyphae.
The source of the sound turned out to be an inch-long buprestid with tapering elytra and a blunt head dominated by eyes with rather more and finer facets than most other beetles. In the diffused glare of the forest floor, the buprestid glowed with emerald hues but the fire faded when a flash of artificial light reduced it into a figure of dullness. Almost aways on the move and more than ready to take flight with every twitch of my thigh, the beetle surveyed random lengths of timber, pausing only to perform regular push-ups, as if it needed a means to discharge energy that would otherwise cause its joints to implode at rest.
On another stump which stood headless by a turn above a ridge a few minutes away, other individuals of what appeared to be the same species dashed about and menaced each other with similar bobs. Disturbed from their displays, the beetles made a noisy exit but probably returned later to continue their rituals: courtship, mating and laying of eggs into wood that is fresh enough to be damp but still far from a fungal mulch. The grubs, which have a long abdomen and large, flat thorax, bore winding galleries between the bark and sapwood, where they turn vascular fibres into sawdust before they pupate in harder depths and emerge as jewels with a side of scarlet, bullets of bronze and copper that sear the air in their search for lumber and love, whose wings do their best to sound the worst but don't ever come close to really mean a sting.