Hairy Melons and Secret Butterfly Adventures

June 27, 2010

The butterflies have found the garden.

The  monarch, big and royal and orange, fluttered, swooped and dove all around the front beds today. Perhaps he was mapping out the location, because he never settled on anything. Watching him was like watching a delicate ribbon trailing through the blue sky. I hope he’s reporting back to his flock and they will all come and enjoy the bounty in my front beds.

There was a spring azure, delicate and powdery blue. She seemed to really like the oregano but didn’t like when I got close with my camera.

And there were two red admirals that couldn’t care less for my presence and let me whir away, making dozens of photos in the hopes that one or two would have the correct exposure, a pleasing composition, be sharply focused and have an attractive slant of light. It’s a great deal to try and coordinate, hope for, with a subject that doesn’t sit still for long. They don’t have the nickname flutterbys for nothing.

One  red admiral is neat and clean and sharp, wings pristine and perfectly formed. Then there is the other guy. He is bedraggled, tattered and torn and looks like he has indeed been through a war.

Do  you think it was a bird, grabbing at him in the sunshine? He flutters desperately as he has let his guard down. He beats his wings into her face, struggling as she loses her grip, ripping his wings. He quickly hiding under a nearby bush. He rests quietly, as hidden as he can get, nestles his wings together to further camouflage himself in the dirt.

Or was it a child, with a net given to him in an Easter basket? He runs after the butterfly for minutes at a time, swooping the net down on nothingness time and time again. Mom sits in the shade watching, believing that the butterfly is truly safe from ill-timed traps. Then suddenly, he is successful! The net is down, the butterfly is trapped, shredding his wings as he tries to escape. Mom is surprised and runs over to help both child and butterfly emerge from this experience happy – and alive. Parent and child look at the butterfly, talk about the colors and the form, examine the wings, now a sorry mess. The butterfly is still petrified, afraid for his life, as Mom explains “catch and release.” The child is not completely happy with this, but lets the butterfly out of the net, into the air. The butterfly floats off drunkenly, amazed at his good luck.

Do you have a story? What could have happened to this poor butterfly to make his wings such a travesty to butterfly-ly beauty?

There is a small Damn Rabbit that sits outside my edible garden most evenings and just stares at it. I’m not sure if his little mind is working out a way around/under/over/through the chicken wire, or if he’s hoping for some telekinetic power to suddenly explode the fence panels and give him free rein in the garden. The incredible thing is that very often, he’ll come up next to me while I’m thinning or checking, seemingly to mentally plead with me to let him in. I explain each time – for you, the sticker bushes, the clover and the weeds. For me, the peppers and the beans and tomatoes and the salad greens.

More flowers are turning into peppers each day. The peppers are swelling, getting bigger and bigger seemingly overnight. The watermelon are bulbs about an inch long. Most surprisingly, they are covered with hair. I had no idea. And I am very amused.

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