Friday, June 15, 2007

The Wounded Visitor

The lawnmower stood poised at the ready, but mid-step I paused. Something lay in the grass a few feet ahead. A scrap of paper blown in on the same breeze that finally pushed the clouds away? Not this time. I’d discovered a visitor to my yard, one I’d courted with the addition of buddleia and bee balm (not yet in bloom), fuchsia and snap dragons, and wildflowers galore across the areas left to nature’s whims. I stepped closer. My visitor was a large black and yellow butterfly – a most welcome surprise. I quietly moved away to fetch my camera from inside the house. Another pleasant surprise when I returned: my visitor had remained and even continued to tolerate my presence as I clicked off a dozen shots. I also discovered the reason for the butterfly’s sojourn – its wings were tattered. Such beauty, so fragile. And its fate not mine in which to interfere. So I left it there on the lawn and went inside to download my pictures. A while later, after I’d spent some time online identifying the butterfly as a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail, I checked back and it had gone – no sign in the yard at all as I mowed the lawn. I’m a sucker for happy endings (even illusory ones) and imagine that the butterfly, well rested, resumed its flight into the sunny afternoon. With no evidence to the contrary, that’s the way it is in my garden today.

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