Here I am, amateur nature photographer that has grown accustomed to nature's time schedule. I know pretty much when certain flowers are going to be in bloom and when the bee and butterfly will be found busily at work. I have grown accustomed to the best times to walk during certain months. All this to say, where are the butterfly?
Down at the bottom of the hill, across a small field and just to the right grow two different type of flowers that the butterfly love. One grows to be over six to seven feet tall with a large cluster of flowers that can grow to be nearly the size of a soccer ball. I have seen as many as three butterflies at a time on one cluster of flowers. The other grows to be around five feet tall with many stalks separating and growing upward with small purple tassel type flowers covering it. These flowers are all well into their blooming period almost to the point of fading. Usually they are covered in butterfly... but there are no butterfly. None that I have seen anyway.
Today I prepared to go for my usual walk through the woods. I pulled my boots on, got my camera and hip pouch of protective gear, then stepped out and picked up my walking stick. Heading around the house I made my way into the woods. Following the path, I started down the hill. Strolling around the pond I watched as grasshoppers jumped out of the way ahead of me in the high grass. One of the big flowers was growing just outside the fence about halfway around the pond near where a creek flowed into the pond. Still, no butterfly. Crossing the bridge I noticed something odd. Here it was late afternoon and there, just on the he other side of the bridge was a morning glory in full bloom. A late bloomer maybe? Either way, I took a photo and moved on. Passing back through the gate I turned and headed for the field. Crossing the field I looked at the large tall plants. No butterfly anywhere. As I reached where the path would take me up the hill and back into the woods I noticed the ferns moving. Hoping to catch a large grasshopper, katydid or praying mantis I moved closer and then backed up quickly. I'm no fan of spiders especially great big yellow and black garden writing spiders. A couple of photos later I was moving away and up the hill.
Walking through the woods I was watching for any of the critters that I know inhabit the woods, deer,raccoon, squirrel, anything to try and capture with my camera. Stepping out onto where the large powerline crosses the Dirt Road I was looking for what ever caught my eye. Moving among the flowers, taking a picture every now and again I noticed something. There, across the field, was a butterfly on one of those very large flowers. This was the first time I could remember seeing one of those flowers growing here along the powerline.
A word about the power line. The landscape is rolling. The hills can gradually slope downward, or they can suddenly drop off steeply. Briars covered everything in its path. They covered brush, trees dead and alive, large areas of the ground. These briar, shrub brush and honeysuckle vines covered places along the way that were dangerous to make a misstep. There was also the fact that last year someone had come through and cut down all the trees that had been growing under the powerlines. These small, downed tree trunks and branches were a danger to step on.
As I pushed my way through the high weeds a spot of color caught my eye. Stopping suddenly I took a step back. There directly in front of me was another very large garden spider. A spider that was definitely not happy I almost trashed its web. I glanced around and decided to leave the web alone as I really didn't want a spider that big mad at me, I started back up the hill. When I got to the top of the hill I looked back once again toward the flower. The butterfly was gone. Shrugging I turned away from the flower and started back up the hill.
I made my way to where the Dirt Road crossed the powerline. A quick glance showed me that there was nothing moving on the other side. No bees, no grasshoppers moving, no butterfly.
I turned and headed for home. I had captured a couple of things with my camera. I would find out whether they were good or not once I got them in the computer. I was tired and disappointed but I haven't given up. Summer has not ended yet, there is still time. I'm hoping that maybe tomorrow, I will see those butterfly making their way through. Gathering on the flowers, dancing on the winds, adding even more delicate color to the fields full of wildflowers. I will have patience, I will watch carefully, I will I know, eventually find those butterfly...and I will capture them with my camera. Until then, I am on the case.. the Case of the missing butterfly..
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