The Quest for a Butterfly

That’s me, chasing butterflies with a camera.

For days, I’ve been trying to capture a photo of this elusive angelic Western Tiger Swallowtail, but every single time I came close, he fluttered out of reach, teasing me. But I’m patient; I had a feeling he’d return and he did!

After chasing him/her for a week, I was talking to it, “You little bitch, stop moving around.” Maybe it knew I was on my last nerve. If any neighbors were out and about, I’m sure they thought I was talking to myself, but I wasn’t. I was talking to a BUTTERFLY. That makes all the diff.

It’s so hot this morning, I was allowed a brief moment to showcase the magnificence while feasting on the nectar of late summer flowers.

The photos aren’t the greatest; it’s hard to focus and run at the same time, but I think it captures a certain butterfly essence, the joie de vivre.

#WordlessWednesday

The Day I Caressed a Butterfly

That was today, actually.

It was around noon. I was in the garden, watering because it’s uncomfortably hot here in SoCal. Not as bad as Paris, cos there’s still a bit of an ocean breeze, but HOT.

A pretty orange and black spotted Monarch butterfly began to follow the spray of water from the hose, and she and I had a little chat.

Well, she listened while I talked to her.

“Hey, pretty girl, are you thirsty?”

By way of response, she floated to the ground and folded up her wings like a beautiful fan. Or like pressed together hands in namaste.

“Are you OK?” “Are you injured anywhere?” At the same time I wondered how in the world I could take a butterfly to the emergency vet.

I turned off the water and crouched down to get a closer look.

What do you need? Are you having a little rest?”

Again, no response, but I inched closer and slowly sat down, hardly daring to breathe.

We stayed that way for a moment or two, each of us motionless.

Can I touch you?” I asked. “I won’t hurt your wings, I promise.”

(By the way, the powder on the wings of a butterfly or moth is actually tiny scales made from modified hairs, and it doesn’t actually damage them if they’re touched.)

Ever so tentatively I reached out my right hand and ever so gently touched the charcoal gray folded up underside of her fan wings, and then I simply sat still as a statue.

After a few seconds in which time stopped, she opened her wings once, twice, three times, and then lifted off the ground and fluttered away.

Thank you” I whispered, and held my heart to keep the love from spilling out.

It was nothing short of an amazing encounter, don’t you agree? One of my most enchanting and enchanted days.

Gangsta Butterfly

Rain of any kind in SoCal is something to be grateful for because for a brief moment, we can enjoy green and lush hills and gardens.

Now that we’re back to sunshiny blue skies again, I took pics of the lawn ‘cos it’ll never look this velvety smooth again.

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Even though I have the flu or some version of it in spite of a flu shot, no way would I miss spending an entire day working in the garden. Dirty hands, twigs in my hair, muddy shoes. HEAVENLY.

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But I wasn’t alone.

This happy gangsta butterfly not only followed me everywhere I was, but sat on my head for a few marvelous seconds, too! It’s too bad I couldn’t snap a pic but it was impossible, so you’ll have to trust me. Fluttering and flapping wings all around my face and head. And listen to the birds! So much joy.

Was there a message or a lesson the butterfly was attempting to convey? Or maybe just a shared joie de vivre?

We can coexist in peace, my friendly Mourning Cloak butterfly.

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Yes, s/he was upside down or maybe I was upside down? It’s all in your perspective. Totally LOVING the apple blossoms.

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Knowing that our rains are brief, all the plants put their best foot forward. The rosemary is a riot of blue flowers and bees.

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Bees, so many bees!

 

Happy all planets direct and Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse tonight!

 

Nothing Really Matters

Well, maybe butterflies do.

I stalked this Western Tiger Swallowtail like a seasoned paparazzi from TMZ.

Easy on the eyes for your Sunday enjoyment.

No drama.

Breathe.

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The First Day of Autumn Brings an Injured But Still Beautiful Monarch Butterfly to Our Garden

Perhaps it’s because this is the first day of autumn that coincides with my Angel Boy’s half birthday (we always celebrate) or because he really has left the nest for real this time with his first tenure track professorship (at least on the west coast so we’re closer) but I’m feeling a sense of change along with the the season.

Even in SoCal the weather will eventually morph into a winter of sorts and maybe that’s why this butterfly was in a weakened condition, because there’s no way to tell how the injury occurred,  but she was flying around me and then came to rest on the lawn right next to my new raised bed where I was playing around with the sand dolllars from yesterday’s post.2015-09-20 22.03.25

How do you help an injured butterfly? Can I pick her up and take her to the vet? Can you superglue the torn wing? (I don’t think so) but her ability to still lift off and float on the breeze made me think of her metaphorically.

In fact, it’s a day full of metaphors with my son flying off and away (literally on an airplane as I’m typing this) to become a fully fledged adult with a grown up job and a boatload of responsibility.

SIGH.

But then this butterfly visited me and I’m trying to decipher her deeper message, although maybe a butterfly is just a butterfly.

I do know that even though her wing was damaged, she didn’t give up; she was resilient.2015-09-20 22.03.12

Maybe she just needed a safe place to rest and heal.

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And just like that, she flew away, carried off by the balmy breezes of another SoCal heat wave.
2015-09-20 22.02.56And thanks to a smarter blogger than me who writes over at https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/ (you need to follow him!)  his brilliant comment referenced the “butterfly effect. According to Wiki, it’s a popular hypothetical example of chaos theory which illustrates how small initial differences may lead to large unforeseen consequences over time.

And he doesn’t know it, but this is SO TRUE. As I keep saying, all will be revealed…

Stay safe, my friends, and Happy Autumnal Equinox to everyone!

Plant Motherly Milkweed for Monarch Butterfly LOVE

The motherly milkweed provides sustenance to the Monarch butterfly and is crucial to sustain the species.

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Everyone who loves butterflies should plant milkweed and since NObody doesn’t love butterflies, there should be enough milkweed planted to sustain the entire cosmos.milkweed7To clarify, I’m not referring to the plural of one my fave cocktails, but the cosmos of our universe.milkweed2

According to Monarch Joint Venture…

Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed; their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants (Asclepias spp.), and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. With shifting land management practices, we have lost much milkweed from the landscape.

Please plant milkweed to support monarch populations, and their incredible migration!

Planting milkweed is a great way to help other pollinators too, as they provide valuable nectar resources to a diverse suite of bees and butterflies.

For a brief how-to flyer on planting and gardening, download MJV’s Gardening for Monarchs or the Wild Ones “Wild for Monarchs” brochure.

As soon as I put the plant in the ground, it became inundated with all the Monarchs in my little part of the world.milkweed6

I planted it FAR away from the vegetable garden so the hungry little caterpillars wouldn’t decide to vary their diet and eat all my veggies.

Reminder! Don’t use pesticides or herbicides. milkweed3Click here for free butterfly garden and milkweed seeds:
https://www.livemonarch.com/free-milkweed-seeds.htm
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More information at Bring Back the Monarchs
http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/milkweed6

Californians can help save the monarch butterfly by restoring habitats where they can thrive. Take action now: Tell lawmakers to vote “YES” on AB 559 to restore monarch butterfly habitats. http://ecovote.org/SaveTheMonarch >>

A Butterfly Grows in My Garden

…floating effortlessly on the soft breezes, possibly to lift our spirits lowered by the demise of the baby hummingbirds, is a butterfly sprite of cerulean polka dots and bands of gold called Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa).

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With a nod to Lizzi @ Considerings who asked the question on her Facebook page and got me thinking about one of my favorite books, Betty Smith’s 1943 novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; here in my garden, although water use is now restricted because of the drought and we can no longer grow brightly colored but thirsty blossoms, there’s still beauty if you look for it.

Mother Nature is amazing.

Catching some rays on the rock garden.
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butterflyrock2 Can I come a little closer?butterflyrock5What grows in YOUR garden?