The Beauty of the Butterfly

Last weekend, my parents came down from Maryland to visit. They were laden with goodies as usual. Their bounty was from a butcher shop in the North End of town that grinds, cuts, and slices their quality meats to perfection. My parents know me well, so my personal favorite was amply represented: Sweet Lebanon Bologna. (Think Pennsylvania Dutch—Lebanon, PA—not the country.) Plenty left over from the weekend, I feasted on it at lunchtime the better part of this week.  (Yes, I can still bend my fingers … and see my toes.)

On Wednesday, I made my way to the public gardens to eat. I vowed that I wouldn’t take any pictures for a change. I would just sit and relax like a normal person… and enjoy my extraordinary sandwich that was five stacks high with alternating layers of bologna and colby-jack cheese (also from the aforementioned meat market).

On my way to the gardens, I passed two colorful butterflies. I smiled in delight but stuck to my no-photos guns. When I reached one of my favorite benches, I saw scores of butterflies flitting among the surrounding flowers.

Well, a few pictures couldn’t hurt, right?

I sat there—mega sandwich in one hand, Canon PowerShot in the other—and “single-handedly” took pictures.  Here’s a sampling:

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Male Monarch Butterfly (
Danaus plexippus) — How do I know it’s a male?  Male Monarchs have a black spot along a vein on each of their hind wings.

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Silver Spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) — What a beauty!

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Whenever I see a butterfly, I think of my younger sister. Growing up, Dad made her a butterfly net. In the summertime, she ran around our sprawling lawn, her long hair streaming behind her, catching the winged wonders, examining their individual beauty, and setting them free again.