Saturday, July 7, 2007

My butterfly is gone today. I didn't look for it very hard, but, then, I don't really want to find it.

Two days ago, I saw a yellow swallowtail in the front yard. I went up to it, and, to my extreme surprise, when I put out my hand it docilely landed there. I was shocked. Of course, I quickly realized that the butterfly was being docile because its wings were crumpling around the front edges. It couldn't fly well. I thought, as it was a very hot and sunny day, that maybe the poor thing was dehydrated. So, I brought it onto the front steps and put it in my geranium pot. (Sans geranium -- except for the remnants of the one from last year. I haven't been up to much gardening this year.) I poured copious amounts of water in the pot and hoped the shade and moisture would do the trick.

Later in the evening, I had to move the pot to get my butterfly out of the sun again, and I mixed up some sugar water. The butterfly's wings were only more crumpled, and it hadn't moved. I figured it was so clearly dying that any measures I took couldn't possibly do more harm, so I held the sugar water right up to its feet. The butterfly showed no interest in eating.

Yesterday, the poor swallowtail was back in the lawn. So, at least it felt up to flying. I helped it off of the sunny grass, leaving it in the shady lavender bushes. No point in bringing it back to the geranium pot. I'd already tried the full-scale intervention, and I don't think it helped. The crumpling in the wings had increased, spreading to the back ones. I figured it was time to let the butterfly find its own way to death. Poor thing.

And, as I say, this morning, it's gone. I know better than to hope there was a sudden and miraculous recovery in the night. I've learned before that when you find an injured animal in the wild, chances are you're too late to save it.

At least, it was nice to have a butterfly for a day. And, it was nice to try to do something for it. Poor butterfly.

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