Endangered species

Butterflies in the Grass


Dusk is a good time to walk. The insects are few, but they are slow. Here’s a western swallowtail on the trail up to the vineyard and the grassland and oilmen’s pseudo-Arizona houses. The lilacs were planted six years ago, as part of a rather inspired beautification project.
swallow2The lilacs, actually, are suffering most terribly, due to being totally inappropriate for the climate, yet they provide, for a time, nectar for butterflies, during the time of the Dying-of-the-Grasslands. There are so many deer, forced by orchard fences to wander back and forth on the (to them) desert of a grassland hill, like this dude …


… that they’re eating off all the shrubs and the last remaining flower heads (and ignoring the inedible [yuck] grass) that there just isn’t anything else for the large winged insects. In that great failure and great tragedy, the lilacs provide a hope for the future: anything that can be planted to save even one species until we can think of a better idea is a darned good thing. The local water board (water is big politics in an arid region) suggests we all plant rocks. If we did what we were told, there would be nothing left. The days of allowing “wilderness” to be wild and re-energize society are over. It’s all the other way now. It doesn’t have to be complicated, either. We, humans, have the capacity to save something out of the mess we have made, through beauty. We can’t describe it for the life of us, but we know it when we see it.


Western Blues at Umptanum Creek, Washington



2 replies »

  1. I especially love the photo of the Western Blues. A week ago I saw a local PBS program about North Carolina moths and butterflies, and the expert on the show mentioned that butterflies love the mud. I thought no more of it until I was filling the goat trough with water and inadvertently created a puddle. The water all seeped into the red dirt, but the next time I passed by, a small cloud of lavender butterflies flew up. Lovely.


    • And I was just looking for a way to get across the water to take a picture of the spearmint growing there. And maybe nibble some. Wild spearmint is a delight. So are butterflies, as you so eloquently point out!


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