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July 26, 2012 / Rae Spencer

More from Red Wing Park (and a Publication Note)

Red Wing Park is one of my favorite places to visit when I crave a short walk. Or when I’m in the mood for butterflies. Yesterday, I discovered several new attractions, including lotus blooms in an artificial pond and a skink basking on the pond’s rock border.

Butterflies were out in droves, even a few species I have never seen before. (Add these to the Snowberry Clearwing Moths in yesterday’s post…)

I caught several images of a large, unfamiliar swallowtail. I can’t tell if these are Pipevine Swallowtails or Spicebush Swallowtails. Maybe both species were present? Any ideas?

One individual had a mangled hindwing, with more than half of the wing amputated. In marked contrast to the other butterflies, this one struggled in flight. It flailed and fluttered along in short spurts, stopping to perch on flowers rather than hovering as it drank. It continued to feed and flirt with its companions, but it was decidedly less agile.

As far as wing injuries go, this was as bad as I’ve seen. I felt an uncomfortable surge of empathy, and I couldn’t help but wonder if the wound was painful. The encounter has turned me philosophical.

It’s just a butterfly. An insect. An ephemeral creature, at best. And yet, its fate affected me. I am reminded of that jaded cliche about chaos theory, the one where a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world, causing an alteration in the weather pattern of another part of the world. What of this butterfly’s damaged wing? What currents of change might eddy in its wake?

Publication note:  My poem “The Road” was published at vox poetica this week. It is now posted on the poemblog. Many thanks to editor Annmarie Lockhart!

7 Comments

  1. jeaniemac / Jul 26 2012 6:42 PM

    Beautiful.

    If the flutter of a butterfly’s wing flap in one part of the world affects climate in another, what is wrought by a jet engine, a Ferris Wheel’s turn, indeed, a child blowing out a birthday candle? This question has puzzled me for years.

    And, yes! I do have too much time on my hands!

  2. Sharon Poch / Jul 27 2012 9:12 AM

    Rae,
    Your photos always bring me back to nature and restore my sense of wonder. Thank you,
    Shar

  3. lynnwyvill / Jul 28 2012 6:16 PM

    Congrats on your publication!

  4. bardessdmdenton / Aug 2 2012 2:04 PM

    Beautiful thoughts on the butterfly with the damaged wing, Rae. It is certainly something to think about … that we should stay aware of our natural surroundings as much as possible and try not to damage them.

  5. bardessdmdenton / Aug 2 2012 2:09 PM

    Oh–I pressed the comment button before I had writted how much I enjoyed your poem. It is so sweet and sad and simply powerful. How I loved these lines, especially:
    ‘The girl skipped across for an apple
    The next day her shoes sparkled
    And the following, she departed’

  6. Gillian / Aug 7 2012 7:26 PM

    I hate seeing damaged insects, too. I’m not sure which butterfly you have there, but I love the lotus photo and the skink!

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