I saw her again, framed against the butterfly bush. I know it was her. Her midnight ribbon of perfect blue tattooed her lower back wings, in a wonderful image of a blue fan against a sea of yellow. The beat of her wings held my gaze. Once again, she had captured my attention and I had no choice but to obey her silent calling. I stared at her midair motion and desired to taste of the butterfly bush.
My first sighting of her occurred during the last great heat storms of summer on an August afternoon. I was sweating and cursing the misfortune, of being the butt of Mother Nature’s rampage against man, beast, and buildings.
The sighting went something like this.
The breezes fought across the front porch as the heat of the day finally gave way to the first hint of cooling down. Yesterday’s heat had been scorching the landscape for many long hard hours. By 8:45 am it was showing 90 degrees on the First Community Bank outside temperature sign. At 12:35 pm, as I made my way out of the Kountry Café from lunch, the same bank sign read 105 degrees. Somewhere in the middle of eating lunch, I overheard Jennifer Rukavina, the Channel 6 weather expert, speak to the fact of us having to endure another day of heat index over 110 degrees.
The day crept on when finally at 5:00 pm we closed the office and went home.
By 7:00 pm, the air temperature had finally cooled down to 85 degrees as I sat on the front porch. With my cut crystal glass of Woodford Reserve caressing a lone ice cube, I settled in to ponder the anger of Mother Nature. Deep in thought and enjoying the drink, my eyes soon notice a new movement within my personal geography of porch, steps, and bush.
Against the backdrop of 7 to 8 inch clusters of deep purple flower buds all over the butterfly bush, the majestic Swallowtail butterfly made appearance and capture my senses.
Magnificent! It’s the only word to really describe the Swallowtail Butterfly. As brutal a hand Mother Nature dealt this day, she saw fit to throw in a splash of color and beauty to take the edge off fighting the elements.
Having reached my maximum point of total comfort, Rommel, our Siamese, whose blue eyes mirrored the blue of the Swallowtail, decided to leap upon my lap and press his face into mine. I almost heard him say “What are you doing? Relaxing? Can I help?”
Meanwhile, the Swallowtail danced through the soft branches of the bush. Stopping to taste the purple buds, the Swallowtail extended her wings to full glory, stretching some six inches from wing tip to wing tip.
It was at this juncture in my self confined stake out of the Swallowtail’s progress that I decided to experiment with my new camera.
Resting my elbow on the top edge of the wicker chair, I gently took aim and held my breath as the shutter shot frame after frame of the beauty radiating from the wings in full flutter.
The Swallowtail completely circled her object of passion. Flowing over the purple buds like a lover’s hand caressing her newest conquest, the rhythm of her wings made me think about the heat, days and nights long forgotten, within late summer memories. I ponder man’s destructive urge to always conquer what was the providence of God’s handy work, nature, and how much we, as a species, have to travel to understand just a small fraction of how the universe really works.
All of this made for delightful pondering on a day of hellish heat and nights of delightful clarity as the blue butterfly wings and the rhythms of the seasons became one before my camera.